As Apple prepares to roll out new ad units in its App Store, ad tech, marketing and advertising experts explain the benefits and potential challenges for brands looking to capitalize on this new opportunity.
Apple plans to introduce new ads to its App Store in the “Today” tab as well as on individual app pages, according to multiple reports.
Ads in the “Today” tab would promote specific apps, placing the apps seamlessly into the existing interface next to a small label that read “Ad.” On individual App Store app pages, users may encounter advertisements under the “You Might Also Like” section that offer other app recommendations. Brands advertising here won’t be able to target specific apps, according to a report from 9to5Mac, but will be relevant to the context of the page and the type of ad under which the ad appears.
The new formats add to Apple’s growing advertising business in the App Store. The tech giant already places ads on the “Search” tab and in search results. In September last year, as part of its effort to satisfy growing demands from advertisers and data privacy advocates, the company rolled out an update that asks users if they want to receive personalized ads in the App Store.
“Apple Search Ads gives developers of all sizes the opportunity to grow their business,” a company spokesperson told 9to5Mac. “Like our other advertising offerings, these new ad placements are built on the same foundation – they will only contain content from the App Store’s approved product pages of the apps and adhere to the same rigorous privacy standards.”
The latest news and marketing information straight to your inbox.
Get the most out of The Drum by choosing from a range of excellent email briefings, whether daily news, weekly recaps or in-depth media or creative dives.
Industry experts are reacting to the news by carefully considering the potential pros and cons.
On the one hand, the advantages for advertisers are clear. “It gives advertisers more opportunities for high-volume brand awareness in a high-end environment,” says Tom Telford, president of digital marketing at PR agency Clarity. “With brands, agencies and advertisers often struggling with attribution, this gives app-based businesses a chance to advertise for broader awareness to an engaged audience, in addition to triggered ads. by regular keyphrases. This is largely attributable to brands looking to increase downloads or have applications at the heart of broader marketing campaigns.”
Telford suggests the move is an extension of Apple’s broader advertising strategy — the company has been developing new ways to leverage its data and premium ad inventory for several years. This, he says, is simply “another method of taking the millions of interactions it has with consumers and monetizing them.”
And while Apple is sure to be a winner when it comes to the changes, some experts say the move is symbolic of the company’s efforts to position its technology as privacy-conscious while giving brands the opportunity to advertise. that they ask. “Apple has an internal struggle in some business units around advertising,” says Paul Roberts, CEO and founder of adtech company Kubient. need.”
Others may see the decision to roll out new ad placements in conflict with the company’s alleged stance on privacy. “Consumers have been conditioned to expect digital advertisers to be loaded with cookies and other trackers, which makes Apple’s intention to increase the volume of ad placements within its ecosystem a real tightrope of expectations,” says Jeff Stuart, product engagement manager at Adswerve. “Some might see this announcement running counter to Apple’s privacy-dominated narrative that it has been pushing for several quarters on connected TV and social media. Consumers may wonder how they reconcile any support for the Apple’s recent preemptive approach to privacy and hardware and software tracking while seeing a demonstrable increase in the number of ad placements they see at Apple properties.
Roberts, for his part, predicts that the new ad units could be some sort of experiment that Apple is conducting to see if it can strike the right balance. “This is a move by the App Store to ‘dip the toes in the water’ to see aggregate audience feedback from users as well as brands.”
Industry players also point out that there are limits to new placements. For one, the lack of targeting capabilities for ads on app pages complicates media measurement and could potentially hamper performance. At the same time, notes Clarity’s Telford, limited inventory — coupled with Apple’s audience base — could overprice challenger brands, startups, and marketers with smaller ad budgets that might not be. able to outbid larger competitors.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.