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iOS Leads Android in Mobile Ad Impressions

Though Android phones are now outselling iPhones, iOS has stolen back the top spot in ad impressions served on mobile phones.

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Data from ad platform Medialets has suggested something surprising: Though Android phones are now outselling iPhones, iOS has stolen back the lead in mobile ad impressions.

Medialets data for November and December saw Android phones easily beating Apple’s smartphone in terms of the quantity of mobile ads served up to users of the particular devices–reflecting the fact that throughout 2010 Android began to dominate sales of smartphones, outnumbering Apple’s efforts. Curiously though, looking at the Medialet’s monthly data, the curve for Android may even be considered to be leveling off.

Where did this growth in Apple’s ad impressions come from? It’s possibly tied to sales of Apple devices over the holiday period (particularly with the Christmas-present-friendly iPad). But Medialets data shows that while Apple’s iPad is in fact rapidly climbing in terms of ad impressions served, it’s actually the iPhone that’s pushing the statistics up swiftly–thanks to the app commonality between iPhones and iPod Touches.

Carrier bias is also evident in Medialets data–the greater majority (nearly 49%) of “premium app” ads served in the U.S. to Android devices were to users on Verizon contracts, and the Verizon Droid was the most popular device among all Androids for 2010 (HTC’s Evo 4G was in second place). The data also demonstrate how important a successful Android phone can be: Some 35% of Medialets premium ads in apps served to Android devices went to the top three phones in the list.

Though Medialets’ stable of apps and advertising partners is merely a sampling of the market, it’s definitely indicative of some general trends. Apple’s share of the online ad market got a turbo boost at the end of the year thanks to gift sales–iPhones, iPads and iPods have an undeniable cachet Google’s products lack, and Google-enabled tablets and media players aren’t really selling in significant numbers. Now that the iPhone is also available on Verizon, it’s possible Google’s share of ad impressions will be beaten by Apple for several months to come. Much of Google’s ad share came from Verizon Android phones, many of which may have been purchased because consumers were reluctant to buy Apple’s phone from AT&T–and may now consider switching.

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I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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