AdMob's January Mobile Metrics Report

The following are some highlights from AdMob's January Mobile Metrics report.

The company exposes some data on growing WiFi usage among device owners accessing sites in AdMob's network:

  • The states that generated the most WiFi traffic are California with 18 percent, New York with 14 percent, and Texas with eight percent.
  • 8% of total US requests are generated over WiFi , with the iPhone and iPod touch responsible for a majority of the traffic

These data may reflect that these states/locations have the most developed infrastructure, combined with early adopters.

European highlights:

  • Traffic from Western Europe increased 132% in the last 12 months to 550 million requests in January 2009. 
  • As new publishers have entered the AdMob network, requests have become more evenly distributed throughout Western Europe.  The UK is now responsible for 46% of requests, down from 64% a year ago.
  • In the UK, Sony Ericsson is the top manufacturer with 26% share of requests and five handsets in the Top 10. 
  • The iPhone is now the number one device by usage in Western Europe with 21% share of total requests.  This strong share reflects dramatically higher mobile Web and application usage by consumers and AdMob's strength on this device.

Here are selected graphics and charts that I pulled from the report:

AdMob Jan Metrics 3
Consistent with the text above, AdMob data show that the iPhone and iPod Touch over index on their network vs. their penetration in the European market. This is entirely consistent with the other data in the market showing much greater usage of the mobile Internet among iPhone owners.

Interestingly, in the chart below global iPhone requests are somewhat flat while iPod Touch requests have grown. This reflects the rise in iPod Touch ownership:

AdMob Jan Metrics 4

There are probably two "constituencies" out there that own the iPod Touch. There are those who have it primarily as an iPod and for whom the mobile Internet and applications represent a secondary emphasis; then there are those who purchased it as an iPhone equivalent because they didn't want to switch to AT&T. 

The following shows mobile OS representation in AdMob's US network:

AdMob Jan Metrics 5
In terms of changes vs. December the above chart reflects 2% growth in Apple OS share and a single point loss by Windows Mobile and Palm. Everything else is flat.

The tiny Nokia/Symbian US market share, as well as the EU OS numbers above, have got to be a continuing worry to the company. By contrast, Nokia sold over a million units of its new "Tube" Xpress Music 5800 phones in Europe last month. The phone is Nokia's first touch-screen device but carries a price tag of $400 (unclear if there will be a subsidy when it enters the US later this month). It's popuarity is partly the result of a free year of music. 

However, as Wired points out, at a price that exceeds the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phones and probably the Pre, it's very unlikely to gain much traction in the US market. Meanwhile the Palm Pre (also potentially a $400 phone) may well be heavily subsidized by Sprint to jumpstart sales. Sprint has roughly six months (according to speculation) as the exclusive distributor of the device. 

Smartphones that cost more than about $300 are going to have difficulty competing in the US market. If subsidized handsets will need to come in at around $200 to compete -- the pricing established by iPhone 3G and matched by the Android G1. 

There are again rumors of a $99 "entry level" iPhone. While there may be some version of the truth hidden within the rumors, it's unlikely that they're true as presented. Apple has jealously guarded its brand and has repeatedly refused to make low-cost products for fear of reduced quality. In addition, its relatively inexpensive Mini has had only mixed success. 

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Note: AdMob's data are not necessarily representative of the entire market (they are drawn from publishers and usage of sites in the AdMob network). However, the AdMob data are directionally representative.