“MS Ads” vs Apple iAds vs Google AdSense

The battle of the top Smartphone OSes continues to heat up as they try to win the hearts and minds of developers, advertisers and users. The approach and  resulting effectiveness of the methods that these companies use to engage the end users with Ads will determine how much money advertisers spend on any of these platforms.

With that in mind, an interesting picture begins emerge. It seems that the top three players (I’m leaving out Blackberry because I have no information how their Ad platform works and Symbian because this is about the US market) will have an Ad platform natively built into their OSes. I predict that when BB discovers that there is money to be made by owning a native Ad platform, they will follow suit.  Ironically, Apple and Microsoft tackle the issue  similarly to a certain degree by turning the Ads into mini application. Google, to the best of my knowledge still uses the traditional link/banner “click”  method. Let us now examine these solutions a little closer.

Adsense/Admob (Android)

This is based on clicking on Ad through a link/banner on a webpage or application. The user is then taken out of the app or page( a new window/tab opens?) to the relevant website for more information and action. Once the user is done, they close the page and return to their previous action breaking contact with Ad  unless they bookmark the page.

iAd (IOS4)

Earlier this year in April at the launch of Apple OS4 (IOS4) , Steve jobs unveiled the iAd platform and demoed using Nissan leaf as an example. The details can be found by a simple web search the summary being the iAds acts as mini applications that the user can interact with and even make purchases without leaving the primary app. I see this as a better approach than the above because of the seamless fully contained experience without the need to link to an outside website.

“MSAds” (WP7)

I coined this term to describe MS Ad platform in WP7 because I cannot find the official name or if there even is one. On two recent post (this and this)on this, site there were videos shot during the Cannes Lions advertising conference showcasing the platform. Relevant quotes from the first post include…

The demo comes down to 3 features of the OS: Applications as ads, being able to pin these applications as live tiles to the start screen and get updates and continuing engagement with the user there, and “toast” which appears to be notifications application developers (which in AdApps will be the advertisers) will be able to send to the end user.


It does however provide a much high level of engagement with the end user available to the advertiser, versus AdApps on the iPhone, where the application can only remains a dead icon (now possibly hidden in a folder) that has zero other opportunities to engage with the user.

The second  post shows a deeper Bing integration, seamless link sharing, barcode scanning, price comparison and even the user being notified of coupons when they are in the store.

I think WP7 has the best well rounded approach of the three and that the advertisers will find it the most compelling. As much as some people may hate ads, there is a greater implication for the growth of whichever platform gains the biggest share of ad revenues. What do you guys think?

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