Apple Inc. prides itself on selling devices rather than relying on ads. Now the iPhone maker is looking to expand its digital-advertising business – as first reported in the Wall Street Journal – with the launch of a contextual ad network that could include inventory from Pinterest, Snap and a collective of other apps within the App Store.
Apple’s sales pitch to potential partners is thought to include context- and search-based targeting options, like surfacing a ticket-reseller app if, for example, a Snap user searches for a sports-related term.
Even so, “without data, ad value is minimal,” Jonathan Yantz of M&C Saatchi Mobile told Ad Exchanger, and “given Apple’s vocal advocation of privacy and their limited use of data within their own walled gardens,” any move to the contrary would be surprising.
Yet can Apple turn its lack of data into an advantage, particularly at a time when the overall advertising zeitgeist is heavily weighted towards robust privacy and transparency policies?
Speaking to Ad Exchanger, Yantz says, “There is an opportunity for Apple to introduce a product that addresses the key challenges advertisers are facing around transparency, ad fraud and the quality of in-app advertising.”
Indeed, whilst going head-to-head with Google and Facebook should prove no obstacle for a company with nearly $300Bn in cash reserves, Apple’s focus on privacy and brand safety could be the key differentiator for both publishers and brands.
But as Ad Exchanger explains, Apple will need to either bring in third-party measurement or offer something of its own, whether through acquisition or via organic development, or even a mixture of the two. The latter is a strategy it employed with its recent purchase of Texture which is eventually expected to roll into a subscription version of Apple News in due course.
WNIP will keep an eye on developments with keen interest.