Apple may be a $2 trillion dollar company that makes some of the most desirable products anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t always looking for new sources of revenue. And it seems to have found it: advertisements.
Apple recently started showing display ads in the News and Stocks apps, and it doesn’t matter if you subscribe to News+ or not. We still saw ads in the Stocks app’s news feed, even though it’s marked with the same “Subscriber Version” label as in News. Apple uses its own advertising platform to display the ads, which are obvious but not very intrusive and marked with a small “ad” in the lower right corner. While writing this article, we received advertisements for Motley Fool and Brilliant Earth jewelry.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, advertising VP Todd Teresi is now reporting directly to Eddie Cue, Apple’s chief of services, with a mission to increase Apple’s annual advertising revenue from $4 billion to more than $10 billion. However, Gurman doesn’t think Apple will enter the territory of the failed iAd system that delivered ads for third-party apps in other iOS apps.
Apple says the platform doesn’t track users and so isn’t part of the App Tracking Transparency pop-up. Apple’s advertising terms state that the platform “is designed to protect your privacy and not track you in apps and websites owned by other companies. That bit of “other companies” is key: According to Gurman, “Apple uses data from its other services and your Apple account to decide which ads are shown.”
That’s likely to confuse third-party app developers, who have struggled with lost revenue since Apple launched the ATT system in iOS 14.5. Major developers like FaceBook have blamed Apple for billions in lost revenue due to the inability to track usage outside of their own apps. Apple’s compliance is kind of a loophole as they own numerous apps and services that come pre-installed on every iPhone.
While there is no Do Not Track switch, users can turn off personalized ads on their iPhone by going to the Apple Advertise tab in the Privacy and Security settings on the iPhone. That won’t turn them off, it will just make them more common.
Gurman speculates that the ads, which can also be seen on the Today tab of the App Store, will come to Maps next and to “digital storefronts like Apple Books and Apple Podcasts”. He also speculates that Apple TV+ could be an ad channel as Apple has already started advertising Friday Night Baseball and regularly promoting its other shows before new epidemics begin.