Study: Mobile Advertising Kills Battery Life

Mobile advertising is responsible for 23% of the typical smartphone app's power usage, say researchers from UC Berkeley and Microsoft Research.

A team of researchers from Microsoft Research and UC Berkeley have quantified the battery usage of mobile advertising mechanisms on smartphones. The results aren't pretty: Study authors Prashanth Moran, Suman Nath, and Oriana Riva found that in the top 15 free Windows Phone applications, 23% of an app's total energy usage was tied to mobile ad fetching and display.

The study (PDF), which focuses exclusively on energy usage in Windows Phones, was publicized by anti-ad software provider Adblock Plus.

So why do the researchers think mobile phone advertising is such a battery drain? They trace the problem to "tail energy," or the unnecessary expending of phone battery life while new ads are fetched. The study recommends building a new ad pre-fetching model, which is a complicated logistical task for mobile engineers.

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  • Aaron Mahl

    Perhaps batteries are running dry faster is because people are spending
    more time playing games... and the reason they have more games is
    because more of them are now free because of mobile ads :) That may sound funny, but as a
    developer, I can tell you that mobile advertising (thank you Airpush, MM, and
    Tapjoy) has made my career as a full time app developer possible. They are downloading more apps than ever (mostly free one) and playing games and interacting with their downloads longer (and devs are seeing better paydays because of its). This HAS to have some impact on battery life.