Whoa! Android Drops 50% In Worldwide Ad-Serving Index


Well this is a bit surprising to hear (and, honestly, a little difficult to digest). Smaato, a worldwide mobile advertising vendor, saw Android take a huge plunge in how many ads have been served (and, more weightedly, clicked through) over the past month. Globally, Android dipped ~50% and landed into 5th place, with Symbian remaining the top ad server.

I wanted to get an idea of what these numbers actually mean (truly, they can’t reflect overall marketshare) and here’s the skinny: Smaato conducts their study based on 36 mobile ad networks that made up over 4-billion requests by 3,300 publishers. It all sounds like reliable data (I’m sure there can’t be a huge amount of mobile ad networks not being accounted for out there).


Feature phones are to blame (if you can really be mad at them about that). Even the iPhone OS saw a similar dip in their index, and Symbian reported a relatively smaller decline. As feature phones become more capable and more affordable – and as more people use their cell phones for things other than talking (who does that anymore?) – ad metrics for smartphones will continue to suffer in their place.

What does all of this spell for Android? Nothing, I think. Competitors are facing similar woes and it’s all due to the resurgence of feature phone web-browsing (and the ads that are served to those users). The fact that everyone else suffered a drop in mobile ad index-ranking means that the smartphone market itself most likely hasn’t budged much at all. Don’t forget that this also has nothing to do with if users are actually browsing less on any one platform: ad-blockers and reluctance to click on ads all play a factor here. It’s easy to panic when looking at a bunch of numbers – just as I almost did when reading this report – but there truly is nothing to see here.

Now, when a retail report regarding unit purchases releases and Android has dipped 50% in just two months’ time, it’ll be time to panic. Until then, head over to Cellular-News for the full details.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Dude!!! Stop shocking readers….. what a lame tactic to get attention!!!

  2. oh noes were doomed. I hate ads anyway :)

  3. All this says to me is that people aren’t clicking on ads in mobile browsers. That it no way reflects the penetration rate of the OS. If anything it just points out that people using a mobile browser are less likely to be sidetracked by ads!

  4. This just means there are less dumb people who own Android phones.

  5. This marks two ridiculous posts over the past two days. Looks like I’ll be over at droiddog or android central smh

  6. @Heroid this is in no way a shock drop. The title stays “50% drop in worldwide ad-serving index”. Smaato is the worldwide ad-serving agent that created this index in which Google’s Android operating system saw a 50% decline in. I’m not sure where the misunderstanding comes in to play.

  7. Well the shock is in “the’ title “Whoa!”…. though you yourself admit later that this is no big deal that every smart phone maker saw the same drop! Then why Whoa?!! and why start with “Android Drops…..” why not “Smart phones Drop….”? Well I understand you were shocked when you read the actual statistics first, but doesn’t mean you need to shock your readers…. there is no point!! If I need Whoa factor out of nothing I will go some where else but I come here to read genuine Android news….. well nothing lost…. its no personal attack….

  8. Wow! People with the money to afford smart phones are smart enough NOT to click ads. People, read teens/tweens, that prefer a feature phone just click on anything that pops up. Shock, gasp, awe! Just goes to show you that ads are working as intended and targeting the most gullible demographic.

  9. @Mike – How you could call this article ridiculous in any way/shape/form is a complete mystery. The article is based on FACTS from a LEGITIMATE survey. It is also a mystery how this is possible, but debating whether or not it occurred? It isn’t a debate – the source article is reputable too.

    Quentyn tries to pinpoint a possible explanation, and even identifies that Android as a platform and consumer device is growing rapidly, also expressing his confusion.

    This is PHANDROID but we don’t treat our coverage like fanboys. A fanboy would have seen this article and overlooked it, but we feel it is important to cover ALL the articles regarding android – whether good or bad – and provide our own input.

    What was the other “ridiculous post”? Apologies if you expect Phandroid to do nothing but stroke the ego of a robot, but we prefer to do a little thinking, provide a little analysis, and look at things from all perspectives. If you prefer the former then by all means, surf somewhere else – no hard feelings.

  10. @heroid007 – I think the “Whoa” is well placed. When I saw the original article, the FIRST thing I thought was indeed “Whoa”. I mean, when is the last time you saw ANY Android metric on the decline?

    @Darkesider – you make a great point about smartphone users being smart enough not to click ads. Well said and good thinking – me likey!

  11. @Rob Jackson – Maybe I got confused! Maybe I thought this was more of an Android “unofficial” news site than editors’ Android blog site!!!

  12. WOAH! Here is a comment.

  13. @heroid007 – I agree. When the Nexus One drops for Verizon what will the title of that post be? WOAH? Not sure. That being said: It is just journalistic style. No one asked you to come to the blog and you don’t pay for the site. So really, who cares? They could post “WOAH! Android allows you to make calls” You would still read it right? Just like you did this post. Pump your brakes bud.

  14. Whoa!!! I never knew my one comment can draw so much attention…. now that’s real whoa factor for me!! ;-) Take it easy guys…

  15. Wow….I mean seriously folk did you all take any sort of writing classes between high school or college? The point of a headline is to grab your attention. He didn’t say anything that wasn’t factual. If anything the headline is probably exactly what he said when he first read the news for himself and probably what any of us would have said as well until we started trying to reason it out. Let some of you have your way and the title of every article would be “This is an article”.

  16. I don’t understand this post.

    You say: “saw Android take a huge plunge in how many ads have been served ”

    Then you say its because MORE people are surfing on their phones? Wouldn’t that mean more ads are being served?

    And what exactly is a Feature Phone?

  17. “saw Android take a huge plunge in how many ads have been served over the last month”

    nowhere in the article is it saying that the number of ads served has fallen (from what i can tell – it’s dreadfully written and fails to always specify what’s being described).

    Android’s marketshare of ads served is dropping as featurephone users _also_ start using the web on their phones. additionally, and probably for a different reason*, _each_ android device is getting less _CLICKTHROUGH_ on its ads, but as more phones enter consumers’ hands the total number of Android ads served will continue to rise…..

    i think….

    * customers were clicking on ads out of curiousity as i did the first few times i saw one, perhaps? and have now stopped.

  18. @Phil – “This is an article” Awesome.

  19. oh and rob… can we use the enter key to add a line in the middle of our comments please? :P i look like an even messier typist than usual above.

  20. @Kev – Thanks for trying to clarify. :)

    So “Feature Phone” is apparently a phone OS that I’ve just never heard of, but that worldwide has a significant penetration. Things start to make more sense once I got that bit.

  21. I dunno why any readers panties are in a bunch over the headline. Frankly, that would be my first reaction to this article.

    Second reaction is…hey, wait a minute. I’ve never heard of these Smaato guys or any of their reports before. What gives? So I read the link and apparently they’ve only started doing these metrics since December. Not much of a track record to build any conclusions on as other readings show some bizarre ups and downs. Not enough past data to see any real correlations to anything yet.

  22. Rob, you really are sensationalizing the titles of your posts, despite your eloquent defenses to the contrary. The post is not ridiculous, however the headline truly is.

  23. Tommy

    I agree.Its only normal for Rob to defend Quentyn and the site but the title is sensationalistic and even though its true thats its not that big a deal i felt a bit disappointed when i read the article.Not only i opened it, which i wouldnt have done if it had a more reasonable title but i did so before any other item on my news list.I have to go through tons of crap every day just to get to a handful of gems.I dont want to lose faith in one of the few sites that offers so many of them.(BTW it would take a lot more than a misguided title for that to happen)

  24. Anyone know of a decent Android news site?

    This site is nothing but a bunch of juvenile retards spewing crap.

  25. This is bad news for me, the only way i may monetize an app would be trough ads, selling sh$t on the android market with all the piracy is nearly impossible i think.

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