Today, Apple iAds are officially disbanded, paving the way for the soon-to-be-released Apple Search Ads for the App Store. At this point, you may be wondering why the technology giant is doing this now, and what it might mean for mobile advertisers. Boost Media shares its perspective on this upcoming change.
Why Apple Search Ads and why now?
Apple Search Ads come at a time when the growth of mobile device sales are slowing globally. Apple relies on device sales for about 84% of its revenues, based on calculations from figures in the Q2 2016 Apple report. They’ve tapped enough of the device market that it’s time to test new revenue models that rely on mobile media consumption rather than purely on device sales. Building off their own platform, Apple Search Ads is a logical option.
What do Apple Search Ads mean for mobile advertisers?
Some are billing Apple Search Ads as AdWords for the App Store. But, it’s unlikely Apple will take a copycat approach. Apple has a long-standing history of leveraging the “last mover advantage,” waiting until the market has worked itself out before releasing a well-designed product on the backs of its predecessors.
Even if Apple Search Ads are a smashing success, they will still need advertising platforms like Google and Facebook to drive traffic to the App Store and to facilitate app discovery. Advertisers should think about Apple Search Ads simply as the last step in the user journey before an app download.
Perhaps with its historically strong stance on consumer privacy—and lessons recently learned from their failed iAd experiment where advertisers didn’t have sufficient visibility into iAd performance—Apple may now have the motivation needed to innovate the advertising model status quo.
With recent forecasting that 33% of Internet users will use ad blockers by 2017, the advertising industry could benefit from testing a new model. Apple has an opportunity to lead the innovation with its Search Ads.
What’s likely to be different with Apple Search Ads? We don’t know many details yet, but one thing we can anticipate is a new approach to user data collection and privacy. For one thing, we know there will be a unique take on conversion tracking. Conversions will be tracked in “clusters” of users rather than at the individual-level. This would effectively mean a higher minimum spend requirement to avoid a data sufficiency problem in anonymizing the data into the user clusters.
Where to go from here
In addition to solving Apple’s future growth challenges, Apple Search Ads could also help with app discovery and app monetization. With a more mature monetization strategy, we can expect better quality apps and app content; and potentially growth in mobile app usage relative to mobile web. Brands can get ahead of this trend by optimizing their mobile app user experience in addition to their in-app content and creative.
And if you haven’t already, sign up to beta test Apple Search Ads. This could be a new avenue for mobile growth— and being an early adopter could prove beneficial against the competition.