State of mobile advertising Q1 - 2015

Android not just leading in traffic, but now revenue

The mobile ad market continues to globalize

Revenue and impressions are increasing across virtually all geographies, and this quarter’s traffic and revenue analysis by geography revealed the ongoing globalization of the mobile advertising market. While the United States is still the clear leader in terms of traffic and revenue generation, there is significant expansion of mobile advertising in Asia, the Americas and Africa. This expansion inevitably causes a relative decline in market share across both metrics for the United States and Europe, as seen in the table, but we are seeing that those markets continue to grow in volume, too.

Compared to Q4 2014, very little changed in the top 25 countries, by ad impressions served. There were two newcomers to the list (Columbia and Venezuela), while Malaysia and Saudi Arabia dropped off the Top 25, as they slipped to no. 26 and no. 27 respectively – though less than .01% separates Columbia from Saudi Arabia.

Android is global leader for traffic and revenue, but iOS and tablets are tops for monetization

One year ago, in the first quarter of 2014, we witnessed a key moment in mobile advertising: Android overtook iOS as the top platform for traffic, as measured by mobile ad impressions served. Now, in the first quarter of 2015, Android continues to dominate the market, with a 65.2% share of impressions – a nudge higher than the 62.7% of Q4 2014, but a big push up from its 42.8% share of one year ago.

Now, Android is starting off the year by setting another benchmark. For the first time since we started The State of Mobile Advertising report in 2012, Android is leading revenue generation across our platform, albeit by only a fraction of a percentage point.

Video advertising is booming

In the past year, the share of impressions from video ad formats has increased over 5X, from 2.5% of all impressions in Q1 2014 to now just over 12.8% of impressions. Meanwhile, revenue from video has grown to become over 55% of revenue delivered to publishers.

However, in terms of monetization potential (the ratio of revenue to impressions), iOS still leads among all device platforms. The iPad generates the highest revenue per impression of any device / platform combination; in fact, its monetization share in Q1 was over 4X that of its traffic volume. Android tablets are making headway, too, as revenue increased this quarter now to be just over par with their traffic volume. Look for Android tablets to continue this trend over the coming months.

It’s important to note that iOS devices reach higher monetization levels, primarily because those devices have a larger market share in regions where advertising rates are higher, such as Western Europe and the United States.


Intelligent Audience Creation

You can’t walk within two feet of a conversation about mobile advertising without hearing the term “big data.” Publishers and app developers are gathering more and more data from their users, and the ability to efficiently collect, store and access data at scale to target advertising is becoming one of the most critical elements of the mobile advertising industry. It all starts with collection of raw data from three pillars of information: context, activity and demographics

However, data collection is only half the story; turning that data into actionable intelligence about an audience is the real challenge. Globally, using some form of contextual information to target campaigns has been the norm for years. However, the use of custom audience-creation methodologies is gaining momentum, and, in some regions, over 85% of campaigns are targeted to an audience that was created specifically for one particular advertising campaign.

Almost 80% of mobile users spread their mobile activity across multiple site and app categories, while approximately 21% focus on a single app category. By collecting and combining observations of context, activity and demographics into these audience segments, we can develop a more complete view of users' intent and their likelihood of engaging with a particular type of ad.

The graphic on the next page depicts our three user groups on the left. On the right, you can see a breakdown of the sites visited by users of three different site categories. Bubble size is relative to the number of unique users in each group.

Social sites, apps get most traffic – and are no. 1 for revenue

Social Networking apps continue to reign supreme in terms of total traffic across the Opera Mediaworks platform, with a 30.2% share of impressions. Social Networking is also now our largest revenue producer, taking over the leading spot from Music, Video & Media. The Games category is in the no. 2 position for revenue, less than 0.15% behind Social Networking. Meanwhile, the Business, Finance & Investing category continues to carry the highest-valued inventory, delivering the greatest revenue per impression.

User clusters by number of sites visited

The most contextually diverse group of user (28% of all users) has a very broad range of interests, visiting seven or more site categories. The chord diagram below shows how one of these segments (users who spend most of their time on education sites) disperse their visits across other site categories. The size of the connecting lines represents the volume of traffic going to the site categories shown on the outside of the circle.

So how do you create an audience given all the complexities? Starting from the data collected from our three pillars of information, you integrate that data through four core activities:

1. Unleash contextual information with segmentation.
2. Refine audiences with behavioral insights.
3. Accelerate into real time with machine learning and measurement strategies.
4. Be transparent about privacy.

Through these four activities, advertisers can build audiences, homing in on a very specific subset of consumers that will be most receptive to the ad messaging of their campaign.

To view in PDF version, click below.