Tracking Mobile Ad Click Rates: Symbian Rules

We see a new report, survey or prediction everyday it seems  comparing the various mobile platforms and their performance, but most of the time they’re based on lofty projections and segmented data.  That’s why it’s nice to see data surrounding something that’s actually useful- case in point, mobile ad click-rates from the top mobile platforms.

Smaato, a mobile ad optimization company, has published its December 2009 report comparing the top mobile platforms — iPhone, Android, RIM, Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile and “feature phones” — to determine mobile ad click-thru rates, OS market share, worldwide and US-based fill rates and mobile ad-network comparisons broken down into various categories.

While most of the data is obvious, such as Symbian remaining the clear leader in OS market share with 46.2% of the global market, there were also some surprises- mainly when it comes to mobile ad click-thru rates for the top platforms.  While the iPhone platform continues its reign in the spotlight in terms of mobile advertising potential, it’s not the leader in mobile CTR- not yet at least.

The top spot goes to Symbian with the highest CTR of 161 (compared to the average index of 100), followed by the iPhone/iPod Touch at 119 and Windows Mobile coming in third at 112.  Android showed an index of just 65, falling short of “feature phones” at 84, but well above Palm and RIM’s Blackberry with 28 and 26 respectively.  Smaato predicts in its report that Android will make the most headway in the coming year in terms of CTR uptick, but has a long way to go before catching up to Symbian and even the iPhone/iPod Touch.

What’s interesting about Symbian’s dominance in terms of mobile CTR is that while looking at global CTR rates, it would make sense that Symbian rules because device makers such as Nokia, who run Symbian prolifically, dominate in various emerging markets.  That’s not the case in the U.S. however, though Symbian still beats all others, including the iPhone/iPod Touch and Windows Mobile in overall mobile ad click rates.