On the 15th January apple announced via its developer’s blog that it will be discontinuing its iAd app network starting from the end of June. Just over 5 years after launching the ad platform, Steve Jobs’ efforts to revolutionise the ad industry have come to an end. Apple confirmed that they will be pulling sales support with publishers taking over the selling and management of advertisements of their apps across apple devices. The move comes due to poor adoption of the platform within the market, which has led to Apple struggling to make a profit from the platform.
iAd’s were initially intended to revolutionise digital advertising by offering better creativity, better user experience and better integration with apple products. Although initial barriers to entry were quite high for advertisers with Apple controlling ad content on the network and introducing high minimum spends which forced out many advertisers. The high margins kept in advertising revenue by Apple also often discouraged many publishers from joining the network.
Several months ago Apple introduced ad-blocking on Apple mobile devices with the release of IOS9. Many saw this not just as a way of improving user experience for their customers but a direct challenge to major advertisers in an attempt to encourage the use of iAd’s on mobile devices. Although ad blocking continues to increase within the market publishers have responded with online pay walls for users with ad blocking in place, new ad formats such as native ads and messaging users to request to be whitelisted from ad blocking aps. Advertisers are also re-acting to the change in the market by using advertising platform’s which are whitelisted from ad blocking apps and investing in ad formats which offer a better user experience.
Although Apple iAd’s new creative concepts and better user experience looked better for consumers many advertisers remain focused on other channels to buy their media. With a vast array of programmatic media suppliers available for advertisers and standardised ad formats it’s a difficult market to change.