AdMob: Comparing Smartphone Share with Web Usage

The latest Mobile Metrics report from AdMob (reflecting usage across its network) features a comparison of smartphone handset share vs mobile Internet browsing and usage. Here are the top-level data:

  • While Gartner estimated global smartphone sales represented 12% of total device sales in 2008, 35% of AdMob’s worldwide ad requests in April 2009 came from smartphones. This means that smartphones accounted for nearly 3 times more mobile Web usage than their device market share.
  • Smartphones running the Symbian, RIM, and Windows Mobile OS are the top 3 by handset sales; however, mobile Web usage on those devices lags their market share. The Symbian OS had 52% market share of handset sales, but generated only 36% share of mobile Web requests in April 2009.
  • The iPhone OS had 8% market share of handset sales in 2008, but generated 43% share of mobile Web requests in April 2009. Ad requests from applications contributed to this heavy usage.
  • Android also generated a higher percentage of mobile Web requests than its share of handsets sold. While Android had less than 1% of smartphones sold in 2008, it generated 3% of mobile Web usage.

In other words, the iPhone and Android represent much more mobile Internet activity on the AdMob network than their respective handset shares, while Symbian, RIM, and Windows Mobile under-index relative to their shares in the handset market.

Here are some of the charts in the report: 

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The following includes HTML browsing (per Net Applications) from mobile handsets:

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Putting aside the specific definitions of the categories in the chart above (Mobile Web vs. HTML), we can see how users are interacting with their devices and the mobile Internet. Clearly iPhone and Android owners are more engaged vs others. Some of this is self-selection and some of this is about the usability of the Internet on these devices. As an aside, it would be interesting to see the Storm broken out within the BlackBerry data to determine whether that device in particular was showing usage patterns different than other RIM handsets.

While the AdMob network is not synonymous with the mobile Internet it is directionally consistent with usage trends more broadly.