A quarter two study by mobile ad optimization platform Smaato was released today and finds that ad inventory has been increasing at a faster rate than budgets, ulitmately leading to a decline in advertising fill rates.
The study was put together to look at a variety of mobile Web-based topics, including mobile ad adoption, fill rates and the overall effect on mobile ad network performance.
Another discovery that the study unearthed is that phones using Windows' mobile operating system had much higher clickthrough rates (CTRs) than iOS, Android, Blackberry and Symbian, both in the United States and across the globe.
Mobile Ad Networks
According to the study, the average ad network fill rate, worldwide, was 18 percent in quarter two of this year. That represents a 2 percent drop from quarter one and a 3 percent decrease from quarter two of 2010.
For the top 40 mobile advertising networks in the world, rates varied greatly, from 3 to 58 percent, but among the top 20 networks in the U.S., rates consistently declined from an average of 27 to 19 percent.
Smaato CEO Harald Neidhardt cites both the downturned economy and "an increasingly fragmented market" as reasons for the decline.
However, one bright spot that the study found was that there are typically higher returns for networks engaging in "specialization," such as offering a service like geo-location. Nine of the top 40 global networks that were specialized performed above the average Smaato index despite having smaller volumes than their competitors.
Mobile OS CTRs
Moving past networks and onto operating systems, the study measured the CTRs of various devices using different OS platforms.
Worldwide across operating systems, the highest CTRs to lowest, in order, were Windows Phones (taking the top spot for the second consecutive quarter), Symbian, RIM, iOS and Android, though the Google-owned OS saw its performance increase by nearly 50 percent from the same time last year.
It's a different outlook in the U.S., however, with Windows Phones just barely ahead of iOS, RIM out performing Symbian, and Android still trailing all of them.
Never fear, however, as Neidhardt sees a bright future for Android. "As the trend continues, we will see even greater demand from big brands and advertisers for the Android platform, and therefore greater revenue opportunities for publishers and developers as Android continues to proliferate."