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Mobile real-time bidding (RTB) ad buys were not particularly common as recently as Q1 2012. Mobile ad–buying platform Adfonic reported that in Q1 2012 mobile RTB ads accounted for only 8% of ads served on its network worldwide. By Q4 2012, the white-hot RTB market accounted for 64% of total mobile ad requests. And tablets, with their dynamic ad opportunities, are taking a significant share of those mobile RTB requests.
Media-buying firm Accordant Media found in Q1 2013 that tablets accounted for 46% of mobile RTB ads viewed worldwide, compared with 54% viewed on smartphones. That is particularly notable since tablets are in the hands of far fewer overall users. ABI Research estimated in January 2013 that there will be 268 million tablet users worldwide this year, compared with 1.4 billion smartphone users.
Despite tablets’ significant share of mobile RTB ads viewed, the iPad’s dominance of the tablet market is not making a major dent in the operating systems where users are seeing these ads. Android was the leader with over three-quarters of viewed mobile RTB ads. iOS took a 21% share.
In-app advertising accounted for the bulk of mobile RTB ads, at 93% of ads viewed. Browsers accounted for the remaining 7%.
The mobile RTB market’s robust growth reflects digital advertisers’ increasing reliance on programmatic buying and the surge in mobile advertising dollars, boosted especially by the growing excitement around tablet advertising.
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