More details about Apple’s iAd initiative emerge

Fri, Apr 16, 2010


On Wednesday afternoon, Apple’s ad team visited the Hill Holiday advertising agency (Anheuser-Busch, Dunkin’ Donuts, Bank of America) to talk about Apple’s foray into the mobile advertising world with iAds. And lucky for us, Ilya Vedrashko of Hill Holiday blogged about the entire visit.

In early January, Apple dove head first into the ad space when it purchased Quattro Wireless for $275 million. Apple’s acquisition was done after their efforts to purchase AdMob were derailed when Google swooped in and picked them up for nearly a billion bucks. Still, Quattro is a strong AdMob competitor with a number of big name clients under their belt.

In the wake of the acquisition, Quattro Wireless’s former CEO Andy Miller assumed duties as Apple’s VP of mobile advertising, and according to Vedrashko, Apple’s visiting contingent was headed up by Miller himself.

Okay, now onto the meat and potatoes.

Each iAd banner will carry an iAd logo to “differentiate it from the ads that do click into the browser.” Remember that Steve Jobs lambasted current mobile advertising methods because they take users out of their apps, something which most people would rather avoid altogether. That said, Apple’s iAds will run within a running app, and will essentially appear to be distinct apps all unto themselves. Also of note is that Apple will only allow one iAd banner to appear on any given screen, either at the top of the page or at the bottom.

Another interesting tidbit is that iAds will have access to all of the iPhone’s goodies, from the compass to the accelerometer, and naturally, the multitouch interface as well. As an aside, ads have the potential to get real sexy real quick. Mobile ads today are little more than boring little banner ads that are anything but memorable and engaging. Multitouch ads? Now that’s certainly “thinking different.”

The first wave of iAds, Vedrashko writes, will be created by Apple, though an iAd SDK will be soon to follow.

[Apple] is lining up “charter” advertisers for the June launch and they will be looking for high-quality creative, which means, I guess, no fat belly ads. Initially, the network will work on iPhone and iPod touch only, with iPad coming some time in the future.

Unlike browser-based ads, iAd ads can tap into all major OS features of the phone, from compass and accelerometer to the multitouch interface.   In the beginning, all ads will be built (in HTML5) by the iAd team. In the future, Apple will release an iAd SDK.

One thing conspicuously (to a media buyer) absent from Jobs’s demo last week was any discussion of targeting. It seems Apple isn’t ready to make all of the details public yet, but what they showed us was very impressive in its granularity.

Now as for price, Hill Holiday isn’t at liberty to discuss any specifics, but they did mention that Apple views their ads as a premium product, and will price it accordingly. “The pricing scheme struck me as very straightforward and elegant,” Vedrashko wrote.



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