Android vs iOS: Mobile Ad Targeting

Android vs iOS: Mobile Ad Targeting

By: Cortland J. Fondon

Mobile ad targeting is not yet a fully fleshed out science. At least not according to eMarketer, which states that at best the industry could be described as using a “spray and pray” policy for years. However, mobile ads are quickly saturating the market and if you’re a developer in the mobile space, you can’t afford to miss out. Luckily opportunities to monetize mobile applications increase by the day. While both Android and iOS offer customizable mobile ad targeting, here are a few things to consider:

Market Share and Conversion Rates

As of the beginning of September 2014, Android possessed 51.5 percent of U.S. market share, whereas iOS only had 42.4 percent. While this is a large gap, it isn’t nearly as large as it is worldwide, where Android sits on a whopping 85 percent of smart phone operating systems. Because of this, Android is often cited as the ideal operating system for mobile ads, while iOS is perfect for sales, due to its higher ROI and more affluent customers.

Mobile Retargeting

Retargeting, or ad delivery based on previous non-converting browsing history, is an important element in mobile ad targeting for both iOS and Android. Because so many users these days can be found on multiple devices, it is important not to let their information slip through the cracks simply because they’ve switched devices. While iOS device settings sometimes limited third party cookies in older versions, newer versions generally accept them by default.

Mobile Advertising Platforms

Most mobile ad platforms aren’t operating system specific, which means that you can find vendors for phones, tablets and other mobile devices based on their features rather than on whether they serve iOS or Android. However, developers and businesses using the Amazon Mobile Ad Network and targeting iOS users should keep in mind that Amazon has only recently introduced mobile ads for iOS, while it’s offered the same to Android since version 1.6, so the kinks might not be all worked out.

Social Media Targeting

The main edge social media has over other business models is that users use a single ID across platforms. Whether on a phone, tablet or desktop, users generally log in via a single profile per social media site, allowing tracking based on that login information. The mobile ID can also be used in this way. Twitter, for instance, allows advertisers to gather information from both iOS and Android user IDs, such as installation history or in-app behavior.

Screen Size

Though it may seem like a superficial issue, screen size is a consideration when it comes to mobile ad targeting. Because iOS users tend to have smaller phones than Android users, ads may sometimes be hard to see on iPhones. Mobile ad developers can account for this by adding a snippet that automatically customizes the ad to screen size, making it responsive, but screen size limits remain constant.

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