As a relatively new and independent iPhone developer, I know that my apps don’t have amazing sales or revenue (although I do believe that I manage to beat the median and mean). Yet despite my lack of stardom, I still see relatively stable sales and revenue figures over the course of normal sales days, barring Christmas and rare articles on iOS blogs. But when the new year came around, my iAd numbers made a resolution to lose weight.

All data is from my Big Brother Camera Security (Free) iPhone app, with well over 100k requests per ad network--Admob and iAds--over the period described below. I have removed any monetary information.

So how was 2010?
For the sake of consistency throughout this post, I’m looking at December 10 to December 31 (inclusive) and January 1 to January 8 (inclusive) worldwide. Both networks had steady fill rates during this period as well as before. Admob shot out an impressive 96.14% fill rate, while iAds shot out what many would call a paltry 16.69% fill rate. No matter, I still make more money from Apple’s extravagant ad pricing--so I was pretty happy.

So what happened to fill rates? 
Below are two slightly modified screen grabs of both advertising network reporting pages. I have marked the New Year threshold with a blue line, and have averaged the 2010 fill rate with a green line, and the 2011 fill rate with a red line.

First, Admob. Very little changed, a drop of just under 4%:

Next, iAds. Unlike Admob, there is a clear change in less than one day--a drop of nearly 50%:

This fill rate drop obviously means that all else equal, my iAd revenue has been cut in half. Such an occurrence makes me feel like iAds, despite having been opened up for everyday developers, has not gained amazing traction. Yes, the 2011 dataset consists of only eight days, but if you really want to be a stickler and do a full hypothesis test, you’d find it’s well out of range. Also as I mentioned, my ad requests are well over 100k for each network during the above 30 days.

I’m not whining about iAds, or the revenue generated. Even with a terrible worldwide (and even US) fill rate, iAds make me more than Admob does; so iAds have had, and will always have, my preference. But the fact that half of iAd inventory disappeared overnight is worrisome, and I don’t understand why I’m the first to notice and point. It’s been pointed out that brand advertising is typically seasonal, versus performance based advertising. Unfortunately because of the priciness of iAds, it is still primarily brand advertising, whereas Admob is largely performance based.

AuthorDaniel Amitay