iAd has not been a big hit for Apple. Although the service was launched with a lot of fanfare about ads that you truly want to play around with and unheard-of levels of engagement, iAds hasn’t really taken off.
Part of the issue was Apple’s strategy: they focused on targeting large companies and demanded they make huge minimum buys-in. There was no dipping a toe in iAd: you either didn’t use it at all, or plunged right into your neck for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Apple’s waffled on that before, allowing ad developers to start hocking their own apps on the iAd network starting in 2010. Today, however, Apple has added an iAd Workbench, making it even easier (and way, way cheaper) for developers to advertise with the network.
Here’s how Apple describes it:
Reach millions of iOS users with iAd Workbench, the simplest way to create, manage and optimize ad campaigns to promote your apps. Get started in just a few simple steps. Select the right audience for your app and set the best price for your business goals. Build customized banners in minutes. Track your campaign performance and drive downloads at the cost that works for you. From start to finish iAd Workbench puts you in control.
There are options in iAd Workbench to switch between ‘Automatic’ targeting and ‘Manual’ optimization, which is cleverly denoted by two big buttons resembling an automobile’s gearshifts. If you’re in manual mode, you can opt to display ads in only certain categories of apps. Pretty neat.
Even better from a developer perspective, there’s now no ad too small that iAds won’t do. You can dip your toe in the iAds stream for as little as $50.
The iAd Workbench site is having some issues right now, but it should be available for all developers once Apple works the kinks out.