Apple has won many battles lately: the last one, the litigation against Epic Games for the control and conditions of the App Store on iPhones. Less well known is the story of its advertising platform – yes, Apple has its own ‘Google Ads’ – which is growing dramatically in recent months.
Revenues from Apple’s Search Ads platform have tripled in the last six months. How could that happen? Easy: Apple has tripped up rivals like Google and Facebook, who have a hard time using advertising targeted at Apple product consumers. In other words: if you want to place an ad on iPhones or iPads and have it seen by the demographic profile you want, it’s a long shot: either you use Search Ads or you’re out of luck.
Search Ads is “eating” the advertising market for iOS devices: its share there for paid ads is 58% according to data from Branch, a US financial consultancy.
How has Search Ads managed to grow in this way? The answer lies in the way Apple treats its competitors on iOS: according to McGee “the rest of the industry is ‘blind’ in the iOS universe.” Targeted advertising, which many advertisers are most interested in, doesn’t work well if you don’t use Search Ads and want that advertising on iOS devices.
That has led to Search Ads growing by 69% on iOS devices since June, while its rivals have fallen on average by 43%. Apple’s discourse in recent times is closely linked to the protection of user privacy, and in fact a few months ago it announced its measures clearly aimed at limiting Facebook’s data collection on iOS devices.
As explained in FT, since April the data that arrives when people interact with advertising no longer arrives in real time to advertisers: when users disable this data collection it causes Facebook, Google, Snap, Yahoo or Twitter to become “blind”.
Previously the data being collected was granular and arrived in real time: now it takes up to 72 hours to arrive and it does so in an aggregated form, something that is not as valuable to advertisers. Of course, Apple’s platform provides detailed, real-time information to advertisers when they use Search Ads.