AdMob Served Ads Use by Less Than Half of iPhone OS Devices in April

ZDNet’s headline

AdMob: iPhone OS devices lead Android OS products in US with ratio of 2 to 1

looks reasonable at face value. But, if you look at the data from Admob being discussed, I think ZDNet’s interpretation might benefit from another opinion (in this case, mine :-) . ZDNet’s article reports:

According to the findings in AdMob’s April 2010 Mobile Metrics Report, there were 8.7 million Android OS devices and 18.3 million iPhone OS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) in the US last month.

It goes on to say:

Worldwide, AdMob found that there were 11.6 million Android OS devices versus 40.8 million iPhone OS devices, producing a 3.5 to 1 ratio.

We know this second statement can’t be correct because Apple’s own reported numbers are 85 million iPhone OS devices worldwide as of earlier this year (50 million iPhones and 35 million iPod touches). One could make the case that more than half of the iPhone and iPod touch units sold were not used during the measurement period because they were broken or not used.

So, let’s take a look at Admob’s summary of their:

April 2010 Mobile Metrics Report

Admob says in their first paragraph that Apple has sold an amazing 85 million iPhones and iPod touches over the past three years. So, where does the 40.8 million iPhone OS devices number come from? Admob states quite clearly that:

The numbers represent the unique devices that requested at least one ad from the AdMob network in April 2010. Please note these are not market estimates, rather data from our network that could be used to inform relative comparisons between the platforms.

Here’s something interesting that can be inferred from AdMob’s report, however. If 85 million iPhone OS devices have been sold worldwide and 40.8 million devices requested at least one advertisement from the AdMob network in April, then apps using AdMob’s ad service is only less than half of all the iPhone devices sold (assuming all are in use which is, admitedly probably not the case). So, if there is something qualitatively different about people who do and do not use apps with AdMob served ads, we need to be very careful about how we interpret data from these ad serving services (which is what I’ve been saying for at least the past year).

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