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How do gender and platform predict mobile advertising and mobile commerce behavior?

by John Krystynak on Oct 23, 2014

Women & iPhone owners are the big spenders, converters on mobile; Android users out click iOS

At AppLovin, we process over twenty billion ad requests a day. Buried in this mountain of data, we can see patterns emerge. After looking at over a billion data-points from the month of July 2014, we found some very interesting trends related to gender behavior. To wit, women click on ads more often than men, have better conversion rates, and spend more per purchase than their male counterparts. We also found some differences in platform users: Android clicks more than iOS, iOS converts more, and iOS users spend more per purchase than Android users.

Consider Click Thru 

We analyzed billions of ad impressions to search for insights on the differences in male or female behavior on mobile devices. Click-through rate (CTR) was one area in particular with a pronounced difference. On the platform side, Android has a consistently higher CTR than iOS, and across platforms, females were more prone to click than males. The obvious conclusion is that female Android users click more than any other mobile demographic.

We find it interesting that the gender gap in CTR is present and similar across both platforms (0.82% on Android and 0.65% on iOS). Those sub 1% differences may seem negligible, but remember, we are talking about measuring CTR, where every percentage (or fraction of a percentage) counts.

What About Conversion? 

The metric that most advertisers care about above all else, is the conversion rate–the rate at which clicks result in a purchase or action. Here two trends are apparent, females iOS users convert the most. Again, we see the similar phenomenon of gender differences consistently echoing across both platforms–females outpacing males.

Average Purchase Amount 

Average Purchase by Gender Graph

In addition to being the best clickers and the best converters, females also spend the most per transaction. iOS as a platform performs better than Android in most metrics of monetization, but here the gender differences trump the differences between platform: Female Android users actually spent 16% more on their average purchases than male iOS users did.

Why Platforms Matters

The many differences between iOS and Android are highly reported and analyzed. In general, we know there are more free, ad-supported apps on Android, so it’s likely users are more conditioned to accept ads and are more responsive to them. So Android users, both male and female, are historically accustomed to seeing more popular apps with ads, but perhaps are less inclined to pay for the items being advertised.

iOS users, on the other hand, may be less conditioned for ad supported apps, but when they click they are more inclined to buy. Some reports even position Apple users as spending as much as 4x Android users. So iOS users might be more prudent in their engagement with ads, but when they do engage, they are ready to buy.

The Differences in Gender 

As far as explaining the different behaviors by gender, it could be many contributing factors. There are indeed differences between genders and their behavior with mobile devices, and the fact that the M/F gap is relatively consistent across platforms lends to the validity of these numbers.

Flurry reports that females over index their male counterparts on time spent in apps, loyalty (the rate at which they return to apps), and monetization. While Business Insider Intelligence and RetailMeNot report that men are more prone than women to shop on mobile in terms of raw numbers, we found that in addition to strong click-through, women convert and monetize more.

The Bottom Line

If you are an advertiser, what does this mean to you? There’s massive opportunity to reach and engage with your users on mobile. Users across all platforms and demographics are engaging and spending. Create targeted campaigns that take platform and demographics (like gender) into consideration, track performance from click-throughs, actual purchases, and update your campaigns based on performance.

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John Krystynak is AppLovin’s Chief Technology Officer.

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