After much speculation Apple finally announced last week that it was pulling all sales support for iAd, the tech giant’s digital advertising platform. The move doesn’t come as a huge surprise with the platform taking resource whilst only contributing circa 5% of the total mobile display advertising revenue share in 2015, as reported by EMarketer.
However, the move doesn’t signal the end of iAd completely. Advertisers can still access the platform through its self-service offering, whilst all publishers who were connected prior to the announcement will continue to have their inventory available to buy.
Initially this seems a good deal for publishers; when sales support from Apple was included publishers would lose 30% of revenue for the privilege, a significant charge which is no longer applicable. In time though, this benefit may actually turn into a false blessing.
If there’s one thing Apple knows best, it’s design. We’re yet to see whether its control over iAd creative rules will remain as stringent, yet it’s clear that it won’t accept bad experiences on its devices. The iAd creative always felt richer and less intrusive than your standard mobile banner or interstitial, which advertisers should push to continue taking advantage of.
Nevertheless with the launch of iOS9, banners may no longer be a problem. Publishers might feel like they have a good deal by securing their full revenue share, but with iOS9 introducing ad-blocking features for Safari, that 30% might all of a sudden look like a price worth paying.
Back in 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook described iAd as a “very small” part of its overall business. It’s obvious that the user experience of an Apple product is far more important and profitable than another small revenue stream. If iAd was an attempt to bring the best experience to mobile creative, the latest move is an indictment of the mobile advertising industry’s unwillingness to adapt to consumer happiness.
If Apple’s blocking software makes for a quicker, slicker and more enjoyable experience, then hopefully the call for mobile creative to be more relevant and sympathetic to the device will finally be taken seriously; not just by publishers, but by advertisers too.
A much needed creative shake-up of the channel and a subsequent improved environment for consumers should make it much easier for advertisers to communicate clearly. Hopefully publishers see this as a challenge to be won rather than a battle to be fought, either way it looks like the consumer will be the winner.