And so it was written, on Thursday, April 8, Steve Jobs said, “…we think most of this mobile advertising really sucks,” thus giving way to the creation of iAd, Apple’s debut mobile advertising platform. The mobile web will never be the same again.
Apple plans to sell and host all ads on a new iAd platform this summer, with the launch of iPhone OS 4. Apple will sell and host ads directly, giving developers a 60 percent split of revenue.
Saving Mobile Advertising
Mobile advertising up to this point has been a disaster. Currently, clicking on ads placed within apps takes users out of the app and into a browser. Users rarely make the same mistake twice and as a result learn not to click on ads.
With iAd, advertisements are contained within the OS allowing users to click on ads without being taken out of the app. iAd simply holds a user’s place in an app and opens the ad up in an app-like environment that connects to the rest of the services on the iPhone, making it possible for users to engage in a variety of activities, such as searching for nearby stores, watching videos or buying a promoted app directly.
Giving Advertisers an Advantage
What advantage does iAd present for advertisers? A pretty big one, actually. Considering that some 50 million iPhones have been sold so far, with more than 4 billion apps downloaded to date, advertisers could have access to a large and well-established audience. That is, if they approach it with some finesse and creativity. iPhone users are more sophisticated consumers, or at least consider themselves as such and won’t be impressed by just any advertising.
As well, iAd holds big revenue potential for Apple. Analysts estimate that iAd could bring in billions of dollars. Yet, we are reminded that not everyone likes a game changer like Apple, and as a result legality issues may arise. iAds could potentially become the iTunes of advertising, making it difficult for others to advertise elsewhere.
Regardless of what the future of mobile advertising brings, it’s safe to assume that we’ll be seeing more innovative approaches now that Apple has entered its hat into the ring. And that’s never a bad thing.