opinion

Mobile Market Share Shifts, Market Cap Expands

Q. Boyer
There have been many comparisons drawn between the developing mobile porn market and the early days of the online adult entertainment industry, with some comparisons being of greater validity than others. One undeniable similarity is the pace at which the two markets shift; just as the ‘fixed web’ sector changed rapidly in the early days of the adult Internet, the current adult mobile market is moving quickly, with significant changes in device and operating market share from quarter to quarter, even month to month.

In February, TopBucks Mobile released a mobile “white paper” that examined the state of the mobile market at the time, drawing on both third-party data and information collected directly from our own network of mobile sites. Given that the report was issued less than 6 months ago, it is staggering to see how much the mobile market has changed in the interim.

Our white paper data released in February analyzed traffic through the end of December, 2009. In this article, I’ll look at several of the same key metrics from our white paper, in the context of data collected in May, 2010.

• The iPad: Another Apple Product With ‘iMpact’

One of the most obvious examples of a market shift since February is the impact of the iPad. In February, the iPad had not yet been released; as of the end of May, the device already represented a little over 2.4 percent of the mobile traffic hitting the TopBucks Mobile network. That figure may not sound like much at first glance, but when you consider that the TopBucks Mobile network receives well over 400,000 unique mobile visits per day, to have carved out a 2.4 percent share of that traffic in a little over a month is an amazing development, and a testament to the outstanding job Apple has done marketing the device.

(It’s worth noting that this success extends beyond the North American market, as well; Japan and China rank 2nd and 4th, respectively, in terms of producing the most iPad traffic across AdMob’s network in May).

The brisk sales and rapid, widespread adoption of the iPad reportedly outpaced even the performance of the original iPhone release, which is pretty amazing given the amount of advance buzz generated by the first generation iPhone.

Given the impact that the iPhone has had on both the adult mobile sector and the general mobile market, if the iPad’s strong performance holds in the months ahead, you can expect to see a massive increase in the number of highly publicized iPad-optimized adult sites through the end of 2010.

• Android: Picking Up Steam

Another statistical shift in market share that jumps out in the May data when compared to December 2009 data is the increase in the incoming traffic coming from Android devices. In December, Android devices accounted for approximately 10.4 percent of the traffic on our network; as of May, that share has risen to over 14 percent. This increase mirrors an overall increase in Android’s mobile OS market share; in December, AdMob reported that Android devices accounted for 16 percent of the mobile ad requests that came across their network; as of May, that share had increased to 26 percent.

Device diversity has been a key component of Android’s success, a strategy that is very different from that employed by Apple’s iPhone-centric approach to the smartphone market. AdMob notes that while the iPhone is by far the leading device in terms of smartphone market share, 7 of the top 10 smartphones run the Android OS.

• Mobile Market Size: Still Rising Fast, Still No Plateau in Sight

While the relative share of the mobile market per device and/or OS is interesting and relevant to mobile site operators, arguably of much greater significance is the growth in the total amount of mobile traffic, an upward trend that (happily) continued at a robust clip between December and May.

For example, the TopBucks Mobile network saw an increase of 81 percent in daily mobile traffic since December. While this rate of increase appears to be slowing somewhat (our flagship mobile site iPinkVisualPass.com saw an increase of over 200 percent from August to December 2009), an increase of over 80 percent in a six month period is still impressive and – more importantly, from my admittedly biased perspective – strongly indicative of continued ‘sunny days’ ahead for the TopBucks Mobile program.

Continued growth in mobile traffic doesn’t just indicate more consumers entering the mobile market; to a significant extent, it also represents a shift in consumer behavior, in which the same consumers that used to surf the web entirely from their desktop/laptop now are increasingly using mobile devices, instead.

While I think Google Europe’s director John Herlihy was exaggerating somewhat in March when he said that desktops will be “irrelevant” three years from now, his assertion puts an exclamation mark on something that our team at TopBucks Mobile has been saying for months now – the mobile market has arrived; ignore it at your own financial peril.

Q Boyer is director of public relations for TopBucksMobile.com

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