Proponents of various platforms (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) like to point to sales numbers to gauge the health of their platform of choice–but sales numbers don’t tell the whole story; those only tell us how many units have been purchased, not how many units are currently being used. App Store sign-ins are a better metric, but potentially leave out people who still use their tablets don’t bother updating their apps.
One method of gauging use is through measuring ad impressions–it won’t tell you how many unique users are on each platform, but it might give you an idea of how much screen time each device is getting from its users. Adfonic is a multiplatform mobile advertising broker that recently compared their services ad impressions from different devices on its ad platform to gauge the strength of Apple’s iPhone and iPad against its Android competition.
According to Adfonic’s numbers, Android is the most popular mobile platform in the world with a 45% marketshare, with iOS at a close second of 37%, RIM, Java, and Symbian at 6%, 5%, and 5% respectively, with Windows Phone at 0.5% in Q3. While iOS is behind Android in general, Apple’s 37% makes it the top manufacturer, with Samsung at a second place of 24%, followed by Nokia, RIM, HTC, and LG. Both Apple and Samsung’s share of ad impressions on their devices have gone up since Q2. The numbers are fairly consistent for all regions except for South America and Africa, where iOS is still ahead of Android.
The numbers also show that the top mobile device displaying ad-impressions is the iPhone (at 26%), followed by the iPad (at 7%), and the iPod Touch tied with the Samsung Galaxy S2 (at 4% each).
All that said these numbers aren’t perfect; they only rely on one company’s ad data and users of different platforms may also use different apps–not only that, some customers might just be using their Android or iOS phones to make calls.
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