Study: Facebook Ads on iPhone Are More Lucrative Than on Android

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Nanigans, one of the biggest buyers of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) ads, recently conducted a study of more than 200 billion mobile ads on the social network to determine which platform – Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPLiPhone or Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android — facilitates the best return on investment.

According to VentureBeat, the Boston-based company reported that mobile ads on the iPhone generated 1,790 percent more return on investment than ads on Android, and, surprisingly, Android advertising even costs more than it returns.

Nanigans recognized that its data would be controversial, and even considered not publishing it, but when the company did, it said: “Retailers are realizing significantly greater return from audiences on iOS than audiences on Android. For the first three quarters of 2013, RPC [revenue per click] on iOS averaged 6.1 times higher than Android and ROI [return on investment] on iOS averaged 17.9 times higher than Android.”

The data also join Nanigans’s results for Facebook’s desktop ad revenue; the company reports that click-throughs have been up 375 percent in the past year, with overall return on investment at 152 percent.

This information is important for ad buyers, especially retailers, because more companies are now investing in mobile ads as their consumer base evolves and finds more access to smartphones. Retailers are therefore faced with the difficult decision of where to place their ads.

Nanigans reveals that advertising on the iPhone platform is more much lucrative than on Google’s Android, and it isn’t only just that Google monetizes worse — it’s that Android actually offers negative return on investment.

According to VentureBeatthe cost of advertising on Facebook mobile apps doesn’t vary between Android and iOS — iPhone’s cost per 1,000 impressions is $4.99, while Android’s is $4.87 — but while advertising on iOS brings retailers 162 percent more cash than what they spend on the ads, advertising on Android returns 10 percent less.

It’s difficult to fully understand why there is such a discrepancy in ad ROI between iOS and Android, but some believe it is due to the lower-end audience that Android routinely serves. As VentureBeat reports, iPhone users tend to make and spend more money than Android owners, so it would make sense that they also give in to more click-throughs and help retailers realize greater return on their investments — but that doesn’t make Android ad servers happy.

Not all industries demonstrated such a significant distinction in iPhone/Android ROIs, but the study did conclusively find that iPhone users are more likely to help retailers benefit from their investments.

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