The iPad, our mobile advertising savior

By Erin Griffith , written on January 15, 2013

From The News Desk

We know mobile ad spend is nowhere near the amount of time we spend our devices. That now outstrips time spent on computers, and will some overtake time spend on all over media. We know that mobile commerce will likely be a bigger opportunity in the long run, particularly in the global markets. And we know that simply waiting for advertisers to equate attention to a good advertising opportunity didn't work on the web, so it's not likely to happen in mobile either.

It's evidenced in Android's engagement problem. Even though more people use Android phones than iPhones (52.5 percent versus 34.3 percent), they're less engaged -- far less. They shop less, browse less and click on ads less. A study released today from MoPub shows that advertisers have noticed.

Apple's iPads and iPhones are putting Android tablets and smartphones to shame on both pricing and sales. It's ironic, because you could argue that Google's biggest motivation for doing Android was to maintain a foothold against Apple in the future of mobile advertising. Now Google is infiltrating iPhones and iPads with its popular YouTube, Chrome and Gmail apps, a play that gives the company valuable data and a potential ad play that's not tied to ill-performing Android devices.

Here's proof of Android's lagging performance: In the first week in January, clickthrough rates were higher on iOS devices: 1.7 percent vs. 1.1 percent for Android. And demand for iOS units on realtime bidding exchanges was higher than for Android: the average number of bids for an impression topped five for iOS devices and remained at at 4.2 for an Android tablet and 4.6 for an Android phone.

Within iOS devices, the iPad pulled ahead of the iPhone in ad sales. The eCPM average was $1.40 per unit on the iPad, topping the iPhone's $1.04 and sub-one-dollar prices of Android phones and tablets.

The iPad is regularly touted as a shopping, ad-clicking machine, and it may just be the thing that redeems mobile advertising. I'm not bullish that smartphone advertising will ever find an effective enough ad unit to overtake the web advertising, let alone TV advertising, but plenty, including Mark Zuckerberg, are. If any device is capable of it, it's the iPad.