I used to work in market research, so I’m always skeptical of data until I’ve understood how it was measured.  That’s why I was surprised with this headline from TechCrunch: “Apple And Android Now Make Up 75 Percent Of U.S. Smartphone Web Traffic“. More specifically, I was surprised how large Android was in this reported data.  I absolutely believe Android will grow in significance in the future; today is a different story.

To the casual reader, that title of the TechCrunch report, along with the accompanying pie charts suggested that the iPhone and Android accounted for 55 percent and 20 percent of the US smartphone market.  These results position the iPhone and Android in number one and two in US smartphone web traffic.

Digging a little deeper, AdMob clearly explains how they arrive at the data:

“The report is based on the ad requests we receive from our network of more than 15,000 mobile Web sites and iPhone and Android applications.”

I couldn’t find details that split the “15,000” figure between mobile websites and mobile device-specific applications.   Mobile websites that serve information to any device seems like a logical way to measure mobile web traffic. On the other hand, iPhone and Android applications will definitely increase the web traffic counted in the iPhone and Android buckets accordingly. This is not to say that AdMob’s data or methodology is flawed.  Rather, it’s helpful to know what was actually measured and how.

I went back to the October 2008 results and found that over the past year, the number of mobile sites and applications has increased 150 percent from 6,000 to 15,000. I’d love to understand how the additional 9,000 “mobile sites and applications” added in 2009 split across mobile sites versus iPhone or Android applications. There has been an explosion in iPhone applications, so it’s not hard to assume that AdMob is tracking a higher percentage of iPhone applications in its data collection network in 2009 versus 2008.

Another factoid that surprised me, over the past year, the number of requests tracked by AdMob has increased 127 percent from 2.2 billion to 5 billion in the US. The mobile web is still in its infancy and it’ll be interesting to track the number of mobile request in a year. Oh, that and the percent of requests associated with Android phones!

Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues

PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”