Apple to Automate iAd Platform and Dismantle In-House iAd Sales Team [Updated]

Apple's iAd program has never been responsible for a large portion of its sales, leading Apple to decide that it's time to take a step back from the platform. According to BuzzFeed, Apple plans to end its efforts at advertising sales and cease its direct involvement with iAd. "It's just not something we're good at," an inside source told BuzzFeed.

To accomplish this, Apple will dismantle its iAd sales team and will turn the iAd platform over to publishers, allowing them to directly create and sell advertising content. Publishers will be able to keep 100 percent of revenue generated.


Advertising industry sources familiar with Apple's new plan for iAds seem intrigued by it. "I think this is going to be great for publishers," said one. "It gives them direct dialogue with their customers as opposed to forcing them to go through an Apple middleman. Access will be more plentiful and easier to manage -- theoretically."

In September, Apple made the first steps towards automating iAd with an iAd Workbench update that added tools to allow publishers to sell ads themselves in Apple News. Currently, Apple News publishers are able to sell their own ads or have iAd sell on their behalf, while developers have to rely entirely on iAd. Apple is expanding its Apple News model to the App Store and other platforms, allowing publishers to sell directly.

Since its debut in 2010, Apple has failed to establish iAd as a successful advertising platform, mainly due to pricing. At launch, iAd's minimum buy-in fee was at $500,000 and despite several price cuts, Apple has struggled to get advertisers on board. Apple made several improvements to iAd over the years and attempted to revive the platform when iTunes Radio launched, but it has never been a successful venture for the company.

For end users, the impact should be minimal. The iAd platform is sticking around and should continue to serve up many of the same in-app ads in the same format that's available today.

Update 1/15: Apple has confirmed plans to discontinue its iAd App Network on June 30, 2016 in an announcement made to developers.

Tag: iAd

Top Rated Comments

BornAgainMac Avatar
66 months ago
Here is an idea. Developers can just pull iAd out of their apps and charge for the App instead. If the app is not very good, then keep it free with the iAd in there and we will know that it isn't worth downloading.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmichaelb Avatar
66 months ago

Steve Jobs would never have... Oh wait

You know, for all the missteps that Tim Cook has made, a lot of people tend to forget that Steve Jobs was running out of ideas too...

A lot of the more half-baked ideas actually came from Steve Jobs… Such as Siri, the iPhone 4 with the antenna lines, iCloud that didn't have much functionality…

I would argue that the Apple today is a very logical evolution of the old apple.

Yes because -

a) Siri is soooo useless.
b) Steve designed the hardware "Let's add antenna lines!"
c) You mean mobileme I think.


Yes every company has missteps. I don't see what the big deal is. MobileMe was a disaster but iCloud has been much, much better. The cloud still isn't Apple's strong suit that's for sure, but iCloud has been a nice improvement.

I like the fact the will admit their missteps and move on.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nepalisherpa Avatar
66 months ago
"Publishers will be able to keep 100 percent of revenue generated."

Uh-oh! I don't like the sound of this. This is basically going to entice more developers to use ads in their programs instead of releasing paid/ad-free versions.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Karma*Police Avatar
66 months ago

Steve Jobs would never have... Oh wait

You know, for all the missteps that Tim Cook has made, a lot of people tend to forget that Steve Jobs was running out of ideas too...

A lot of the more half-baked ideas actually came from Steve Jobs… Such as Siri, the iPhone 4 with the antenna lines, iCloud that didn't have much functionality…

I would argue that the Apple today is a very logical evolution of the old apple.

You could have chosen a lot of Steve Jobs failures, but those 3? Siri, the foundation of the next gen in UX which Google and Microsoft promptly copied; iPhone 4, considered by many as the foundation of the modern smartphone; and iCloud, the foundation that ties all of Apple's hardware and services together?

Those were all big ideas and just because everything wasn't perfect out of the gate doesn't mean he was running out of ideas or that they were half-baked.

On the contrary... The evolution you speak of are evolutions of those foundational pieces which Steve planted before he passed.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
65 months ago

Considering Google has gone nowhere fast with their mobile ad biz, an essentially free one by Apple for direct access to platform responsible for a 90% majority of revenue generated in mobile, I'd say it's time to take a hard look at selling that Google stock.

Apple making 90% of smartphone profits has nothing to do with ad revenue.

Google's revenue has been increasing, including the percentage from mobile ads.

Mobile ads themselves are expected to pass print ads this year in spending, an event coming earlier than predicted.

From the linked article:

"In 2015, iAd’s share of mobile display advertising revenue was just 5.1%, according to data compiled by EMarketer; meanwhile Facebook claimed 37.9% and Google 9.5%."

A 5.1% share of mobile ad revenues is actually pretty huge, especially when you consider that Google is only at 9.5%!

Of course, that instantly fails the smell test :). If Apple was making half the ad revenues of Google, they would not drop iAds.

Those look like percentages of change, not of market share. I suspect that someone at Buzzfeed screwed up reading some chart. (No surprise these days; the quality of tech reporting continues to drop.)

According to the same source, eMarketeer, this is mobile ad revenue share in the US:

Attachment Image
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chupa Chupa Avatar
66 months ago

Steve Jobs would never have... Oh wait

You know, for all the missteps that Tim Cook has made, a lot of people tend to forget that Steve Jobs was running out of ideas too...

A lot of the more half-baked ideas actually came from Steve Jobs… Such as Siri, the iPhone 4 with the antenna lines, iCloud that didn't have much functionality…

I would argue that the Apple today is a very logical evolution of the old apple.

Jobs passed away a year after the iPad was release so impossible to say he was running out of ideas. In fact, his ideas probably were part of many Apple products from the years following his death since electronics are designed years in advance of production.

Certainly he had many bad ideas that were either emotionally based or not completely thought out. His bio talks about many of them. But Thomas Edison had a lot of bad ideas too. That doesn't take away from the fact both of these men changed the world they lived in and started the path future generations would take.

OTOH what ideas have exactly propelled Tim Cook to Jobs level? Maps? A slimmer iMac? A one port MacBook? Apple Music? Buying Beats? Apple Watch? None of these are societal game changers.

Also Siri was bought by Apple, not a Job's idea, other than voice control is the future. It's implementation has been rough, but most of that, again, rests in Cook's hand. He was the one that took it out of beta. Since Siri, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have all developed competitors, so clearly Jobs was on to something there.

iCloud is a mess, but again implementation, not idea. But Job's idea of the cloud goes back to iTools way before anyone else. Good idea, poorly implemented. It's something Jobs let slip though his hand and let the likes of DropBox and Box take the space. But it was and is a good idea.

iPhone 4 antenna was a bit of overhype. The aesthetic design of the 4 was ground breaking -- compare to any of the plastic junk phones of the time. Even today its design is classic. The antenna was clearly a design over function decision. But, honestly, it wasn't as bad as the news stories let on. I certainly didn't have any issues with mine -- a "day one" purchase.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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