*please note, by absolute certainty, we mean that it could happen, maybe, one day, and possibly a bit like we have suggested…
You’d have to be on the moon (or maybe in the metaverse) to have missed that change is afoot in the world of digital advertising. With turmoil at Twitter, Meta’s daily users levelling off, and Tik Tok not quite cutting it as a pure performance channel, the timing couldn’t be better for Apple. There are whispers of recent hires and job postings at Apple, which have been seen by some as a sign that Apple may be about to increase its focus on paid advertising.
Major moves by Apple, with its history of great products and usually getting things right, would undoubtedly be a good thing for advertisers. With a wide array of highly loyal and affluent users, ubiquitous Cloud syncing and native format opportunities, an Apple advertising channel could mean new insights, lower costs, and higher overall return in your ad spend investment.
Now just to be clear, we have no “inside knowledge” regarding Apple’s next move. But it sure is fun to share what we see as the 4 biggest reasons it would be a good thing for Apple to make a serious play in the performance space, from an advertiser and agency perspective.
1 – Volume & depth of targeting data
Apple is able to collect huge amounts of data from its users. A recent episode from marketing and advertising podcast Perpetual Traffic talks about how Apple can use data that it receives from any activity on an iOS device. “Apple can utilize data that it receives by proxy,” says Kasim Aslam. “So, as you browse, all of your internet browsing is available to Apple. Everything that you do, everything that you log into, every video you watch, every tweet you retweet.” Because these actions are done on Apple hardware, they have access to it all.
This data pool is a goldmine for Apple to leverage into more accurate ad placements, and it will help definitively identify the tactics that work at each level of the funnel. Even with the best data analytics in place, marketing campaigns often have significant margins of error, and the next-level access from a tech giant like Apple can help reduce that margin and pinpoint success.
Advertiser mark – 10/10 – This targeting would be amazing, if used correctly and responsibly we could deliver genuine value to consumers.
Consumer mark – 5/10 – Where is the opt-out? “How did they know that I was struggling to find a tool that can core a Pineapple, that is so awesome / weird, how did they know that?”
2 - Cross-Device Tracking
Apple has long been a paragon of inter-device activity and connectivity. As devices sync together and iPhone users upgrade their standard issue earbuds for AirPods, which also connect to their iPad or MacBook, etc… This natural coexistence and collaboration have become so commonplace that many users even refer to their “ecosystem” or “operating system” preference when responding to the inquiry of “What phone do you have?”. Not only is this an incredible tool for brand loyalty, but it also allows for Apple to collect information on your target audience more extensively and efficiently than you may be able to on your own. An ad, and therefore an ad response, recognized on one of an Apple consumer’s devices can inform what may come in front of that same consumer on a different screen.
Advertiser mark – 10/10 – This is exactly what we have needed for years.
Consumer mark – 5/10 – “OMG, I was watching the football on TV last week whilst listening to the commentary on the radio and the Ad on the screen was the same as the ad on the radio! And it was something I really wanted / super creepy”
3 - A blank canvas for ad formats
Of course, Apple wouldn’t be Apple if they weren’t pushing boundaries and scheming up ways to revolutionize an industry. When we think of traditional paid media, the formats are pre-ordained: social media ads, pop-ups, videos, billboards, etc. If Apple enters the ad space, they hold the power to redefine what an ad looks like — and not just figuratively. They can literally redesign an advertising format native to their devices and incorporate specific ad messaging, placement, interactivity, and design that can nearly-subliminally influence users. We’ve already seen Apple dip into things like mobile banner ads, in-app ads, and sparse video ads within some Apple TV streaming, and their expansion of further advertising options could mean big potential gain for those working within media, marketing, and advertising.
Advertiser mark – 7 /10 – “These new formats are great, we love the creativity, and the click through rates are off the charts, however they can be a little too native, so the conversion rates are low”
Consumer mark – 3 /10 – “These are annoying, I keep clicking on what I think are messages from Apple with stuff I need to do, or that have at least been endorsed by Apple, but I keep ending up in the Appstore!”
4 – Channel diversity creates competition & creates efficiencies for advertisers
As you may have seen from my previous post, many brands we speak with advertise almost exclusively on Google and Meta. If Apple were to make a serious play in the ad market it would provide somewhere else for ad budgets to go. Should Apple manage to snaffle as little as 20% of the budgets, then demand would decrease across other platforms, costs would go down and brands could acquire customers more cost effectively.
Advertiser mark 10 /10 – “Love these new products, more inventory with awesome targeting means that I can spread my budget rather than wringing the life out 2 or 3 channels”
Consumer mark 0 /10 – Meh!
If any of this bears resemblance to what happens should Apple increase its offerings in the ad space, this would undoubtedly be welcomed by advertisers. Apple almost always nail what they do, so it would unlock a way of reaching a premium audience with unparalleled targeting capabilities. Of which could deliver much growth and benefit to consumers.
The thing to watch, would be how Apple balance advertising opportunity Vs their commitment to privacy measures and the overall consumer experience. As reflected in our scores, some people are happy to receive targeted offers, offer promotions tailored to their needs. Whereas others truly value anonymity and could become confused if the balance between targeting abilities and Apple’s privacy stance is not handled correctly. Our view is that this will need to be handled by putting control in the hands of the consumers.
Planit is not a ‘Facebook agency', or a ‘Google agency’. We look at which advertising options are best suited to our clients KPI’s and budgets. The average number of publishers across our advertiser base is over 20, meaning our campaigns are not solely reliant on one or two platforms.
We always welcome new publishers and advertisers to our network. If you would like to run an audit to see what’s possible, then please get in touch via email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.