Apple’s rocky iAd advertising platform is about to see some major changes, says Buzzfeed’s John Paczkowski. According to the report, Apple plans to dismantle its iAd sales team and stop its role as a middleman between publishers and customers:
While iAd itself isn’t going anywhere, Apple’s direct involvement in the selling and creation of iAd units is ending. “It’s just not something we’re good at,” one source told BuzzFeed News. And so Apple is leaving the creation, selling, and management of iAds to the folks who do it best: the publishers.
Apple is phasing out its iAd sales force entirely and updating the iAds platform so that publishers can sell through it directly.
The big news, Buzzfeed notes, is publishers that play ball will take home 100% of the ad revenue generated rather than a 70/30 split with Apple.
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The timing for the shift makes the change a bit of a New Year’s Resolution as the report claims Apple could execute the change as soon as this week. From the start, Apple’s iAd business has been a struggling effort with various moves intended to make it more attractive and automated for publishers.
Besides the apparent lack of overall success with iAd in general, my first thought on Apple reducing its role in the iAd space is how the advertising business conflicts with Tim Cook’s effort toward user privacy. Remember the iAd exec that said privacy was holding the platform back? Being good at advertising typically requires a wealth of user data, although Apple obviously isn’t totally ending its effort here.
Apple’s Eddy Cue actually hinted at the change earlier this week in a story ran by the WSJ around Apple’s News app glitch with counting views on stories.
Mr. Cue said he was surprised by the extent to which publishers call on Apple to handle ad sales. He said Apple has accelerated the development of its iAd network and expects to launch a self-service ad-buying platform in the next two months to help increase ad spending.
So while it may end up being more work for publishers on the front end, the move sounds like a long overdue development if iAds are ever going to really take off as a proper revenue source on the iPhone and iPad. In the short term, iAds will play a role in monetizing content viewed through the Apple News app when using Apple’s own format.
Prior to Apple News, Apple’s iTunes Radio service optionally presented iAd advertisements to listeners with the free tier, although Apple Music has changed that aspect of the product. iAd still plays a part in monetizing free iOS apps, although the method is far less common than the use of in-app purchases.