Apple Has Internally Tested Injecting Ads Into Maps App Search Results [Updated]
Apple is aiming to triple its ad revenue from $4 billion per year to double-digit figures by expanding its advertising to more apps, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Currently, Apple ads appear in App Store app searches, where developers pay for promoted spots in results, as well as more standard ads that appear in the News and Stocks apps. Apple also generates revenue with commercials during MLB Friday Night Baseball streams, but now the company wants go bigger by expanding its ad presence across iPhone and iPad apps.
In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman writes that Apple's VP of advertising platforms Todd Teresi wants to triple current ad revenue, and the first move to achieve that could be to bring ads to the Maps app. Apple has internally tested adding sponsored spots in Maps search results, reports Gurman, and if it does roll them out to Maps users, it could just be the beginning of a wider expansion.
Gurman speculates that Apple could also bring ads to the digital storefronts of its Books and Podcasts apps, while an even more lucrative revenue driver could be Apple TV+, if the company was to follow the lead of Netflix and Disney+ by providing an ad-supported tier.
Apple has already announced it will be expanding its advertising business reach in the App Store, with new placements coming to the "Today" screen as well as to individual app pages, which will allow developers to pay for slots outside of the Search tab and search results for the first time.
However, Apple will be aware that even a gentle creep into other areas of Apple's software could mar the premium experience that users expect of its devices, while also leaving it open to increased criticism over its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework which has, by some accounts, had a substantial negative impact on both large and small businesses.
Apple's ATT tracking rules are currently under investigation in Germany under competition law to ascertain whether they are self-preferencing Apple or being an impediment to third-party apps. Apple has disputed suggestions that its ATT framework has unfairly benefitted the company to the detriment of third-parties.
Earlier this year it commissioned a study into the impact of ATT that was conducted by Columbia Business School's Marketing Division. The study concluded that Apple was unlikely to have seen a significant financial benefit since the privacy feature launched, and that claims to the contrary were speculative and lacked supporting evidence.
Update: Apple engineers are already working on implementing search ads in the Apple Maps app, and the ads will be likely be visible next year, according to Gurman.