Digging into the iOS 7 Launch

Written by
Matt Gillis, EVP, Global Monetization Solutions

The Millennial Media platform sees billions of impressions every month from more than 8,000 different devices and 45,000 sites and apps. The data generated from these impressions is the foundation for our monthly research reports, and when big events happen in the mobile industry, we like to tap into the data to analyze consumer adoption and usage.

One recent major event was the launch of the new iPhones, and the release of iOS 7.

We began seeing iOS 7 impressions earlier in the summer, as the developers from WWDC gained early access. When Apple announced the general availability of iOS 7 on September 18th, impressions started to explode.

In fact, from Day 1 of the release to Day 7, we saw iOS7 impressions on our platform grow an average of 185 percent every day. After the first week, iOS 7 grew from having 0.5 percent of our total iOS traffic, to 16 percent of total iOS traffic.

As we dug deeper into the stats, we found two additional trends that provide some insight into the initial consumer reaction to iOS 7:

  1. iOS 7 adoption was much slower than iOS 6 adoption. While the 185 percent daily growth for iOS 7 was impressive, we looked back at the first week of growth for iOS 6 and saw that it grew an average of 264 percent daily. Additionally, while the release day impressions for iOS 6 and iOS 7 were similar, once the release was seven days out, iOS 6 saw significantly more adoption, and was at 35 percent of our total iOS impressions, compared to the 16 percent for iOS 7.
  2. iOS 7 saw unusually strong engagement after work hours. While we often see usage patterns change (and increase) after consumers are home from work, this was especially true with iOS 7, and on the first day of release, impressions grew almost 100 percent between 6 and 8pm. To put this in perspective, when we looked all the other impressions on our platform that day, they only grew an average of 4 percent between 6 and 8pm.

What’s behind these patterns? We can’t say for certain, but we have a couple hunches. When comparing iOS 7 to iOS 6, we think that it is very telling that impressions were the same on Day 1, and iOS 7 slowed down significantly after that. Because iOS 7 was such a major update, it seems likely that early adopters downloaded it as soon as possible, but for other consumers, there may have been hesitation after reading about how radical the changes were. The internet was abuzz with iOS 7 reviews, and people may have decided to wait some time before adopting the new OS.

We also believe that the huge changes in iOS 7 were responsible for the growth in activity after hours. While some consumers may have downloaded the update during work, they most likely saw the major changes and decided they needed to explore the new system away from the pressures of the workday.

These are just our own hypotheses, and no one knows what the data will look like in 6 months. We’ll keep looking at the impressions on our platform, and keep your eyes open for upcoming Mobile Mix reports, with more data on Apple, Android and the rest of the mobile device ecosystem.