Is Apple about to become an advertising giant?

Apple has advertising’s Garden of Eden. Soon, it could be put to use.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Last year, Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency (ATT) — you know, that little pop-up asking if you’d like an app to track you.

That rhetorical question was a win for privacy, but it’s been a migraine-and-a-half for the mobile advertising industry.

Now, somewhat ironically, Apple is actually moving deeper into ads.

For context…

Along with the privacy triumph, ATT was a kick in the competition’s balls. Mostly Mark Zuckerberg’s, who’s said it could lose him $10B this year — money he needs to escape Apple’s grasp and build the metaverse.

  • Currently, Apple’s ad unit generates ~1% of the company’s revenue (~$4B annually). Compare that with Meta, where ads make up ~98% of revenue, or Google’s ~90%.

Reporting from Bloomberg found Apple plans to crank that income up to double digits.

Why move into ads?

Consider Apple’s capabilities as an ad platform.

  • You’ve got the iPhone’s sensors and Apple’s own apps (Maps, Music, News, Stocks, Weather that’s frequently incorrect… etc.), along with Apple TV, AirPods, AirTags, the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and more.

Apple doesn’t just have a walled garden — it has advertising’s Garden of Eden.

The company already displays ads in the App Store, Stocks, and News apps. Soon, expect to see more in Maps, as well as the Podcasts and Books apps.

BTW: Apple actually tried launching an in-app ads business in 2010 called iAd. Here’s Steve Jobs’ keynote introducing it.

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