Android’s share of mobile Internet usage continues to grow, but Apple retains a strong lead as the most valuable mobile platform for advertisers, according to new figures from browser-maker Opera.

Based on data from Opera Mediaworks — the mobile ad network that serves over 60 billion monthly page impressions to 425 million users – Opera’s latest State of Mobile Advertising report shows that Android is winning the market share race on mobile.

Phones built on the Google operating system accounted for 36 percent of Opera’s traffic, some way ahead of the iPhone’s 29 percent. That’s a significant change from the last quarter, when the iPhone lead Android phones fractionally (31 percent to 30.3 percent). However, when it comes to advertising revenue, the iPhone accounts for a dominant 40 percent, while Android smartphones tally up to 30 percent.

Apple has the edge over the Android ecosystem as a whole, thanks to the iPad. Overall, Android devices — tablets and phones — account for 38 percent of Opera’s traffic and 32 percent of its revenues, the figures for iOS are 43 percent and 56 percent respectively. The iPad represents 11 percent of traffic and 13 percent of revenue and is cited by Opera as the key differentiator.

“We expect to see Android’s share of revenue continue to grow, but given how far ahead Apple is in the tablet space, we do not expect Android to take the lead for cross-platform monetization in 2014.”

Looking at the rest of the field, BlackBerry and Windows made incremental gains but are still dwarfed by Nokia’s now-defunct Symbian platforms — which pulls in 4 percent on traffic. BlackBerry tops the trio on ad revenue share, but, even together, these platforms are minuscule.

opera q42014 730x224 Opera: iPhone remains king of mobile ads, despite Android smartphones enjoying greater reach

There are plenty of data points for shipments and sales, but this data is important because, as one of the industry’s most significant ad networks, Opera Mediaworks gives an insight into what people are using to access the Internet. The takeaway from the report is pretty clear, Android is growing fast, but it doesn’t have the same average spend of iOS users.

This is one reason why Apple maintains its position as the primary ecosystem for developers: iOS makes more money than Android. Though Opera’s data relates to value for advertisers, the principles are similar for developers and others in the app ecosystem.

Headline image via Justin Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images