IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
News
1/14/2016
05:16 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Apple May Axe iAds Sales Team

Apple is reportedly moving to dump its in-house iAd sales team and make iAds solely a self-service platform.

iPhone 7 Rumors: 7 That Have People Talking
iPhone 7 Rumors: 7 That Have People Talking
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Apple's ability to take existing hardware products and make them better has made the company a phenomenal success. But the company doesn't get much praise for software-oriented service businesses like iCloud, iTunes, or its App Stores, despite management shuffles.

Now, according to Buzzfeed, Apple is rethinking its involvement with iAds, the online advertising service it launched in 2010. Possibly as soon as this week, Apple is said to be planning to retreat from the ad sales business, making iAds solely a self-service platform.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Apple introduced iAds as a premium mobile ad service, asking advertisers for $1 million or more as a minimum commitment to participate. Over the years, it has relaxed its creative requirements and lowered its financial threshhold, first to $500,000 and then to $300,000 in 2011, and then to $100,000 in 2012. By 2013, the iAds minimum ad buy had been lowered to $50, which matches the minimum commitment at Google's AdMob.

Selling advertising at a premium turns out to be more complicated than selling hardware at a premium. According to eMarketer, Apple's iAd service accounted for just 2.6% of the mobile display ad revenue in 2015, amounting to $795 million. That's up from 2.5% in 2014. Google and Facebook accounted for 32.9% and 19.4% of mobile display ad revenue last year.

(Image: eMarketer)

(Image: eMarketer)

Apple has been keeping 30% of ad revenue for ads sold through iAds, down from 40% initially, in exchange for the assistance of its ad sales team. Buzzfeed claims Apple will let its ad sales team go and allow publishers to keep 100% of ad revenue for ads appearing in their apps.

In an email, Garrett Mehrguth, CEO of digital marketing firm Directive Consulting, said he wasn't aware of Apple's reported plan, but isn't surprised by it given Apple's tendency not to share data.

iAds, Mehrguth said, has been received poorly. "It's fairly exclusive and the data is meager," he said. "Plus without having any real control, it's not ideal. It's not as if you can simply login to iAd and set up an advertising account as you can with Google."

Shifting to a self-service model will help, Mehrguth said, but it won't change the fact that clicks from ads in apps perform poorly. "While they rack up brand impressions, they rarely convert," he said. "For example, it's highly regarded as best practice to exclude in-app placements within Google's display network for conversion driven campaigns."

[Find out why the creator of the most popular ad-blocking tools for iOS 9 is having second thoughts.]

Mehrguth sees Apple's decision to step back as an opportunity for brands seeking a larger share of mobile ad impressions. His firm, he said, will be watching how these ad placements drive sales and acquisitions for clients, how iAds' cost per thousand impressions (CPM) compares with competing ad platforms, and how iAds works with Apple News.

"Currently, Apple News is struggling with its data reporting … no surprise," said Mehrguth. "Hopefully, they can add some transparency and allow advertisers to get a better understanding of user engagement."

While Apple's decision to embrace ad blocking in iOS 9 may seem like a contradiction for a company with a mobile ad network, Mehrguth sees the company's positioning as forward-looking. "Apple is very aware of a public shift towards data privacy and faster load speed," he said. "Once they figure out their metrics, Apple will be able to focus on pushing Apple News. They know that GenZ wants branded and editorial content. I think they are simply racing towards tomorrow."

(Editor's Note: Apple on Friday said it will shut down the iAd Network on June 30. It is no longer accepting new apps into the network.)

**Elite 100 2016: DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JAN. 15, 2016** There's still time to be a part of the prestigious InformationWeek Elite 100! Submit your company's application by Jan. 15, 2016. You'll find instructions and a submission form here: InformationWeek's Elite 100 2016.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
kstaron
50%
50%
kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
1/26/2016 | 12:20:49 PM
Refocus
Sounds like they started with an overly ambitious plan for revenue ($1M to start, not many companies would make that leap on a new product or service with others so much more reasonably priced) and simply managed to sink their own ship by not looking at what the competition had to offer. It may be best for them to refocus their efforts on other things.
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of September 25, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.