Mac & Apple

Apple reportedly isn’t looking to inundate iPhone users with ads after all

Apple won’t start showing significantly more iPhone ads. Also, Apple a few years back apparently stopped a project to inject ads into Spotlight search results.

Tim Cook sitting at a table outside the Apple Park headquarters

  • What’s happening? A new report says Apple won’t significantly increase ad load on its iPhone, with some members of the company’s ad team pushing back.
  • Why care? Because you don’t need more ads on your iPhone.
  • What to do? Breathe a sigh of relief.

Apple wanted to inject ads in Spotlight search results

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently wrote about Apple’s supposed plan to increase iPhone ad load, claiming the company is aiming to triple its ad revenue. He said Apple internally tested search ads in Maps and alluded that advertisements might appear in apps like Books and Podcasts. Watch: iPhone tricks that’ll blow your mind

A new report from The Information has brought Gurman’s story into question. Titled “Inside Apple’s Love-Hate Relationship With Its $4 Billion Ads Business,” the write-up by Wayne Ma claims that Apple isn’t thinking about exposing iPhone users to more ads because the company is satisfied with its revenue.

The story also casts light on internal deliberations by the ad team which reportedly discusses injecting ads into Spotlight search results back in 2018. Ultimately, the ad team pushed back so Apple shelved the plan. Some members of the ad team even officially complained to management that they felt Apple was going too far.

Audience refinement is the new targeting

The Information has here that sales representatives working in Apple’s advertising department are provided a list of words to avoid using when speaking to clients.

Instead of using the term “targeting” to describe the company’s ability to deliver Apple search ads tailored to users’ tastes, Apple asks its ad sales reps to say “audience refinement,” according to three people familiar with the business.

Audience refinement sounds much less ominous than targeting, but it comes down to the same thing—learning as much information about the user as possible to increase ad value.

Rather than using “algorithm” to describe its technical methods for delivering ads, Apple advises the reps to use the term “platform.” Also out is “conquesting,” referring to the practice of an advertiser buying ads that show up whenever users search for rival brands, the people said. “Competitor keywords” and “brand defense” are acceptable substitutes.

Brand defense is exactly what some developers were forced to do after Apple brought ads to the bottom of app pages. Soon after, gambling and casino apps started buying those ads. This forced some developers to spend additional money to buy those ads slots to stop sending traffic to competitors. In response, Apple stopped permitting those categories of ads to show up on app pages.

What about privacy and all that jazz?

Gurman’s report upset fans who didn’t want Apple to start showing more ads at a time when the company is strongly advocating for privacy.

Others saw the App Tracking Transparency initiative as hypocrisy because Apple’s stance is that ads turn the customer into a product. Recent changes in iOS that require iPhone apps to obtain permission to track users was viewed as a way to hurt competition because Apple recently launched two new ad spots in the App Store.

And with recent deals like Major League Soccer beginning to stream on Apple TV+ in February, some people fear that Apple will soon start selling ads on its video-streaming service.

Original Article