Apple plots major ad business expansion | WARC | The Feed
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Apple plots major ad business expansion
First hardware, then services, now Apple is looking to advertising across parts of its ecosystem beyond search advertising on the app store – in so doing, the effort raises complicated questions about the effects that Apple’s App Tracking Transparency has had on advertising-based companies ahead of ramping up its own advertising capability.
Why it matters
In the name of privacy, Apple introduced its ATT features (which effectively gave users the option to allow or not allow apps to track their behaviour across apps) in iOS 14.5, in mid 2021, when it was enforced system-wide.
Early indications suggested take up of the feature was high, given that tracker blocking was as simple as hitting a 'Do Not Allow' button when you first download an app. Soon after, the impact on its own business pointed to a lucrative new area for Apple, while the fortunes of digital ad businesses – especially Meta – began to dip. Many of those firms blamed the ATT changes for their struggles.
Now, according to reporting from Bloomberg, Apple is looking to grow the $4bn it already makes annually into a business bringing in tens of billions of dollars.
Whether it’s inconsistent or not, the bigger question surrounds whether this is a problematic advantage that it has exerted over both large rivals like Meta but also on smaller developers that relied on advertising to Apple users. As this business grows, expect more and more serious scrutiny.
As Bloomberg’s report notes, Apple already advertises on
- The App Store (a kind of sponsored search advertising)
- Through display advertising on News and Stocks
- With TV style advertising during its Major League Baseball streaming.
Based on reports of exploration within the firm, a future direction for Apple’s ad business could come in the form of Google-Maps style sponsored map listings, or sponsored listings on other storefront style apps like books or podcasts, Bloomberg speculates.
If the fortunes of Amazon are anything to go by, advertising is anything but dead, especially with a global cohort of relatively affluent, loyal iOS users for whom some non-invasive advertising won’t make a huge difference but has the potential to make Apple huge amounts of money and bolster its non-hardware revenues.
There are still some issues, however. Apple, for instance, won’t be asking its users in each individual app if they are willing to be tracked (it argues that they aren’t being tracked across apps) even though there is a central setting to turn off personalised advertising.
So it does appear that there are differing rules for different players, which could become a problem in future.
Sourced from Bloomberg, WARC
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