Apple’s six-year dabble into the world of advertising has come to an end. The company is reportedly surrendering its iAd program over entirely to publishers. That means publishers will get full control over the creation of ads, ad management and selling them. Apple apparently just doesn’t want anything to do with the ad business anymore.
Apple is beefing up its iAd network for iTunes Radio by making it easy for advertisers to target certain customers. Like iAds for apps, advertisers can also buy their own audio ads without having to go through Apple’s sales team.
The change seems geared towards making advertising on iTunes Radio a more attractive opportunity, especially now that brands can use Customer Match, Apple’s ad-targeting system.
Apple is starting to crack down on apps that request a user’s unique advertising identifier, but not actually show any ads within the app… and Apple may be doing it to put its own iAd network on better competitive footing.
A new Apple patent application published today relates to iAd technology that will allow Apple to target users with specific content based on a person’s predicted mood, their likely interest level, other content they are currently interacting with, their current geographic location, and the time of day.
In some applications, mood would be gauged using a camera which, equipped with facial recognition algorithms, would be able to measure specific expressions.
Apple has restructured its growing iAd division to focus heavily on selling spots for iTunes Radio, according to a report from AdAge. To help sell individual ads to more potential buyers, the company is also reportedly building a real-time bidding exchange for in-app iAds.
At a recent staff meeting, Apple’s Eddy Cue reportedly communicated that iTunes Radio was the “top priority” for selling iAds. “The message that came across was basically if you’re not working on iTunes Radio, you’re irrelevant,” according to an AdAge source. Apple makes 90% of the revenue off its audio ads and only has to give 10% to advertisers. The company recently hired a top-level radio exec from Cumulus Media to help negotiate big deals.
Before iTunes Radio, iAds were only designed for developers to put in iOS apps, but they never really took off. Apple charged a steep premium and was highly selective in selecting ad partners initially, but this recent report suggests that the focus is being shifted to cheaper ads that can be bought individually. The real-time bidding system would work similarly to the stock exchange. In-app iAds could not only become more affordable, but more specifically targeted at users.
Apple has moved to trademark the “Advertising Re-Imagined” slogan used to promote its iAd mobile advertising platform. The Cupertino company filed for the trademark on Wednesday, September 25, more than three years after it launched the iAd business.
Apple has been on a hiring binge of ad executives lately as its ad-supported iTunes Radio product nears launch. During the month of August alone, Apple has posted over 40 job listings for iAd related positions on its own job board and LinkedIn. The positions range from account coordinators, ad design managers, and engineers, all of which will be used to create new media ads for iAds.
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.