This is the question I have been pondering after listening to the speculation and undercurrents of conversations across various social media platforms that have been muted over the last few months.
While this analogy is, at this stage, a prediction, all the pointers are indicating that is it highly likely to happen and from my perspective there have been too many signs that Apple will bring out a Universal, self-serve, advertising platform similar to Facebook and Google.
Why wouldn’t they?
To get an idea if the size of the market that Apple could get a slice of, figures from statistics.com for the 2020 ad revenue for Facebook and Google show Facebook generated close to 84.2 billion U.S. dollars in ad revenues while Google’s ad revenue amounted to 146.92 billion US dollars. Staggering figures.
If Apple could take even 10% of that, why wouldn’t they launch their own ad platform?
Apple is now the world’s most valuable company. Apple has power. Apple doesn’t need Google’s money. Apple has been investing heavily in search. And according to a recent Business Insider report, Apple has recently hired Antonio Garcia Martinez, who previously worked at Facebook’s ad team. This hire indicates that Apple is moving forwards and investing in its advertising platform, but according to the report, nothing is confirmed as neither Apple nor Martinez will comment at this stage and so the speculation grows.
Erratic effects on ad accounts post iOS 14
With the new privacy implications with the iOS 14 and soon to launch iOS 15 updates, Apple has a significant advantage to track user behaviour and attribute accurately compared to the flawed data flow which other platforms are facing.
Since the launch of the iOS 14, clients across the board have been on a roller coaster journey experiencing record sales days followed by zero sales days, with no set pattern or reason. It has been chaotic and unpredictable and at times has felt like a firefighting exercise.
Over the last few weeks, the ad accounts of clients that I have been managing (between $1-$3m a month) have seen and experienced erratic performance and a number of accounts have had to rebuild due to performance falling off a cliff. Conversely, others have been without issue.
Apple’s focus on privacy
Apple has too much of an advantage over anyone else and the market is too big to let an opportunity like this pass it by.
What is frustrating is that their sentiment to date has been about protecting consumers’ privacy, whereas in reality it’s about safeguarding their premium userbase. Apple has been running a series of ads recently which address the issue of privacy, showing their marketing is focussing on this issue.
The most recent of these ads being a scenario showcasing the app tracking transparency (ATT) privacy feature on iOS. The advert follows someone through a typical day, highlighting the apps that are frequently used by people, such as supermarket shopping, getting a taxi, buying a coffee etc until a strapline appears on the screen reading, ‘Choose who tracks your information’ followed by a screenshot of the phone screen with the individual clicking on the option ‘Ask app not to track’, declining the ATT requests for apps to track him, leaving him with a peace of mind that privacy is secure.
With the advantage they have, Apple launching an advertising platform seems inevitable. Not just because their app will work but because they have the intelligence to be able to track Facebook and Google and beyond. They would steal a significant chunk of the advertising dollar just because arguably, their ad platform would be superior and it would be more accurate, so a winning combination.
Watch this space…