iOS Version & CTR: Old Is Gold!

Apple’s iOS 6.1.2 — to correct a bug that reduced battery life and increased network activity for some users – made its way into the hands of consumers on February 19th, 2013. Adoption of iOS 6.1.2 took off, and within a week, it was the most used version of iOS.

According to a recent report by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple’s iOS claimed the majority of smartphone OS sales in the U.S. in Q4 2012, standing at 51.2%. Given the popularity of the iPhone and iOS in North America, Chitika Insights conducted a research study analyzing iOS version click through rate (CTR) to help quantify the value of each market segment.

On January 23, 2013, Apple’s Tim Cook reported that the company had sold half a billion of iOS devices since the launch of the iPhone. A market of this size and breadth is composed of many factors, ranging from age of technology and software to the demographics of the consumers. This column will tell you why, for the iOS operating system, “old is gold.”

We found that users on older iOS versions on average exhibit higher CTR and ROI. Marketers can use this information to target to users with older versions of iOS and increase the effectiveness of their campaigns.

CTR By iOS Version

The data used in this study was drawn from the Chitika Advertising Network between March 1st to March 7th, 2013. This study drew from a sample of tens of millions of online ad impressions originating from iPhones, iPads, and iPods. A user agent analysis was then used to identify the iOS version in use for each iOS device impression in the data set. A graph depicting the CTR of different iOS versions within the aforementioned time period can be seen below:

CTR by iOS Version

CTR Related To Age Of OS Version

Based on the data in the corresponding chart, iOS user CTR is directly related to the age of the OS version. In short, the older the iOS version a user is running, the more likely that user is to click on an advertisement, potentially interact with a marketing campaign, or engage in similar actions.

This valuable market segment is further clarified in earlier Chitika Insights studies on Mac OS X and Windows CTR, along with monitor screen size, which identified the same relationship.

Both iOS 3 and iOS 4 users exhibit a significantly higher CTR than those on the most recent version of iOS, clicking on ads 89% and 69% more often than the users on iOS 6.1.2, respectively. This difference can help quantify the significant value of a marketer’s audience which relies on older or outdated devices.

Older Apps Get Higher ROI

While it is true that users who run older versions of iOS represent a small portion of your overall audience (a recent Chitika Insights study reports that users on iOS 4 or earlier only make up 3.7% of all iOS users), marketers can do well by focusing their effort where it can be most effective.

For example, a marketer running a CPA campaign could potentially see a higher ROI by ensuring exposure in older apps, or in apps which have flexible OS version requirements. Focusing on these areas can help ensure that a marketer’s campaign covers the entire scope of the market without overlooking any high value, albeit small segments.

Please note that the age of a user’s OS is only one variable among many which marketers should look toward when engaging in campaign optimization. To successfully reach your audience, be prepared to look at a variety of factors, both quantitative and qualitative.

Running a campaign on in-app traffic can be targeted in a very precise fashion, or receive broad exposure to consumers with relatively little discretion. Type of device, time of day, and even demographic factors such as age or gender are only some of the variables which can impact your campaigns effectiveness. By focusing on the factors which can be easily controlled, such as OS version exposure, Marketers can in turn maximize their ROI for relatively little effort.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Analytics | Analytics & Marketing Column | Apple | Channel: Analytics


About The Author: is a Data Solutions Engineer at Chitika and a lead author for reports by Chitika Insights, the research arm of the online ad service. After graduating with a B.A. in Business Administration from Ithaca College, Gabe has been pursuing his passion for technology by researching and analyzing new and emerging trends in the online world.

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