As if we hadn’t had enough from Apple this past week, it decided to previous the next update to the iPhone (and iPad) operating systems. But the big feature of that update was iAds. This is Apple’s new mobile web platform that allows developers (both of software and of content) to offer ads as an additional revenue source. Apple sells the ad space (and given that the ads can be far more interactive than ever imagined, this will have ad agencies salivating) and the developer gets 60% of the revenue.
There are two related bits to this that make this a potentially big deal. First, by owning the platform — that is, the ads Apple mobile devices — Apple has the ability to track use. That means that users need not be presented with the same ad over and over again that they don’t click on. Instead, their ad impression and clicking behaviour can be tracked and matches optimised. In my current research, I see the inability of media providers to do this as a big reason why ad revenue is falling. Apple’s solution hits right at that; although this is surely on Google’s radar too.
Second, this isn’t just about apps. The ad platform can surely serve all content including newspapers, magazines and, dear I say it, books. That should get interesting if the children’s books that so enthralled my kids on the iPad, also contained ads. And think of it, the New York Times, ABC and News Limited could use the platform and potentially offer better matching to advertisers as consumers are tracked across them. Well, potentially, as I can also imagine that Rupert Murdoch isn’t going to jump in quickly to share ad revenue. But then again, he does like the iPad.
Put tracking and ads in mobile content together along with a dose of — surely people are not going to consume media in the future using a laptop — and you have quite the package.