Ad execs disparage iAds over Apple’s ‘slow, cocky and downright stingy’ approach

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iAd, Apple’s advertising platform, continues to struggle to gain traction and retain big name advertisers. A new report by industry publication Advertising Age claims that Madison Avenue media buyers are unimpressed by the performance of iAds, which they contributed to Apple’s “slow, cocky and downright stingy” approach to ad sales.

The problem boils down to Apple’s lack of understanding of advertising as a relationship-driven business…

The story cites examples of Apple’s and Amazon’s failing ad businesses, Apple’s being “too pushy” as the company remains “too reticent to foster relationships”. It disparages both Amazon and Apple as being too “slow, cocky and downright stingy.”

The publication claims to have interviewed a dozen people, including high-level executives at Apple and Amazon and eight agency and marketing services execs who work closely with both companies.

“Apple and Amazon struggled with the concept of selling ads in the first place,” the report has it, with one ad sales exec reportedly telling Advertising Age that “Apple doesn’t even have official sales targets for its ad business”.

Here’s an excerpt from the report:

The lack of data both companies deliver is frustrating for marketers because these notoriously opaque giants sit atop incredible troves of information about what consumers actually buy and like, as well as who they are and where they live.

One person familiar with the situation exec said Apple’s refusal to share data makes it the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head.

Apple’s always been reluctant to share customer data with third-parties.

When the firm announced in-app subscriptions, publishers of digital magazines, newspapers and other periodicals complained about Apple’s unwillingness to share anonymised behavioural data about folks who subscribe to their digital products via iTunes, but Apple wouldn’t budge.

Cary Tilds, chief innovation officer for GroupM, said that Apple doesn’t have a big sales team because “it’s not their main focus to tell everyone in the world how amazing advertising in iAd is”.

Google led 2013 digital-ad revenue with a whopping $17 billion in ad sales, followed by Facebook ($3.2 billion), Amazon ($614 million) and Apple ($258 million), though it should be noted that Apple does not sell online display advertising or search ads.

iAds can be seen in iPhone and iPad applications, provided their respective developers have opted to implement Apple’s platform instead of Google’s AdMob/AdSense or competing ad services.

iAd also powers iTunes Radio ads, which signed up a bunch of high-profile advertisers following its September 2013 public debut.

Some of the iTunes Radio advertisers include such brands as Macy’s McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble and more. The report praises Apple for collaborating with Pepsi on a branded radio station.

The collaboration is being described as “a rare privilege in a universe that typically forbids logos other than the one depicting bitten fruit,” perhaps ushering in a new era of a more flexible Apple that pays more attention to what advertisers really want.