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Android has been the market share leader in mobile operating systems for years. But Apple’s iOS phones have always outdone the Google-powered devices when it comes to advertising dollars, despite Android’s massive market share advantage.

Until now.

According to a new report from Opera Mediaworks (yes, that Opera), Android did some big business during the first three months of 2014. Opera Mediaworks, in case you missed it, is now largely a massive global ad business, perhaps bigger than any independent network other than Google’s.

In fact, for the first time ever, Android climbed to the number-one position in terms of mobile ad traffic, inching past iOS.

mobile stats

“Android phones crept up to take the majority market share from the iPhone at the end of 2013, but traditionally iOS as a platform has always captured the most traffic,” reads a company statement on the report.

“Now, for the first time, the Android OS has the most traffic (42.8 percent vs. iOS’s 38.2 percent) — and it is slowly increasing its mobile ad monetization as well, now accounting for over 33 percent of revenue compared to 26.7 percent at this time last year.”

It’s important to note, however, that just because Android leads globally doesn’t mean it leads in all markets. In the U.K., for instance, iOS still captured 55 percent of ad impressions — a fairly good proxy for Internet traffic from iPhones — and 67 percent of ad revenue. Opera didn’t release any data for North America, but the same is likely true for the important and wealthy U.S. market.

Interestingly, Opera said that rich media ads are the most effective, echoing our recent Mobile Games Monetization report, which found that video, rich media, and native ads were the most effective at capturing attention.

The U.S. is still the world’s most important market for mobile ads, with just over 50 percent of ad traffic. Europe has faded somewhat, and Asia has taken over second place with 23 percent of global ad impressions, compared to Europe’s 13.5 percent.

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