Apple News publishers allowed to test Google DoubleClick ads

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Apple News
Apple News ads could be changing.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is allowing select publishers to test Google DoubleClick ads on its News platform, according to a new report.

It’s said to be part of a plan to make the News app more lucrative for publishing partners, with many disappointed with its existing monetization opportunities.

Apple News has become a popular platform for iPhone and iPad users, with more than 50 million monthly users in the U.S. alone, according to ComScore. That means it’s a great source of traffic for many publishers.

But it hasn’t been a terrific source of income, which is one of the biggest complaints publishers have about the service. Apple currently has a deal with NBC Universal, which sells around half of the inventory of ads, while others are served by its own advertising platform.

Now Apple is allowing some to trial ads using DoubleClick for Publishers, according to executives familiar with the test, who have been speaking to AdAge. Many already use DoubleClick to serve ads on their own websites.

“Publishers like Condé NastGannett, Time Inc., CNN and other media partners have been in talks with Apple for months about changing the technology behind the ads in the popular news app,” reads the report.

“Apple is just starting to do more for monetization,” one publishing partner said. “We’re starting to get excited about it, but can only design and develop ad inventory for Apple News once we have the right pipes in place.”

What makes this move surprising is Apple’s and Google’s contrasting views on privacy. While the iPhone-maker has famously pushed to keep our habits and personal information private, Google uses this to serve tailored ads.

Apple actually restricts the type of data that can be used for ad targeting, and has recently made changes to its Safari browser to automatically reset the data collected by cookies, which are typically used by marketers to get an insight into the things we shop for.

But another unnamed publishing partner said, “it’s all about ease of use.” Publishers “want to serve ads the same way they do on their own sites or else it causes friction.”

It’s not yet clear which publishers were chosen for the trial, but those who were contacted by AdAge said that they were hoping the test would rollout to everyone before the end of the year. It’s thought Apple’s existing deal with NBCU will not be affected.