Apple released iAd Workbench last summer, giving its registered iOS developer a much-needed tool to create, manage, optimize and track in-app iAd campaigns, build customized banners and more. The mobile advertising tool used to require a paid iOS developer account, $99 per year.
Starting today, non-developers are free to use iAd Workbench as well: all that’s needed is a regular Apple ID account. Or to put it other way, Apple’s just given anyone the ability to make their own iAds. Additionally, the iPhone maker has expanded its advertising platform by adding a new video iAd unit to Workbench…
And in addition to the previous cost-per-click billing, advertisers can now opt to be charged for campaigns based on the CPM metric, or cost per thousand impressions.
The new video feature helps publishers direct mobile viewers to a separate website or promoted iTunes content, in addition to mobile apps like before.
Previously, videos in iAds used to be exclusive to big name advertisers.
AdAge has learned that anyone can now kick off an iAd campaign within two days of posting it on the iAd Workbench system. “The tool still works exclusively for ads running on Apple’s iOS phones and tablets,” notes the publication.
While advertising on iTunes Radio is powered by the iAd platform, the iAd Workbench expansion doesn’t seem to extend to Apple’s free radio service, “although its incorporation is likely not too far off,” AdAge speculates.
Despite the initial success, iAd hasn’t been able to attract big name brands as much as Apple hoped it would, prompting the firm to lower iAd spend requirement a few times.
Maybe expanding its advertising platform to anyone with an Apple ID is Apple’s way of raising awareness of iAds and boosting ad revenues?
AdAge thinks so:
At the onset of its mobile-ad business, Apple extended olive branches to a select group of brands, promising premier reach. But advertisers pushed back against its pricey offerings. Now, it appears Apple has concluded money in mobile ads comes from a wide net; in short, it’ll look more like Google.
Another thing to consider: mobile web is effectively dead as apps dominate user engagement in mobile.
According to a survey by mobile analytics firm Flurry, the fragmented mobile market is affecting the Internet giants Google and Facebook which combined took less than 25 percent of the total time spent by the average US mobile consumer.
Compare this to desktop, where Google absolutely controls the space with a dominating worldwide share of online advertising topping 60 percent share. By the way, a Bloomberg story last week asserted that Twitter is getting ready to join the fray with a mobile ad product of its own to push apps.
Be that as it may, apps dominance in mobile creates a significant opportunity for Apple.
With cumulative sales of 500 million units to date, the iPhone is still the iconic device and the most popular smartphone model. Although not every sale translates to a new user (some are upgrades, for example), that’s still a hell of a lot of eyeballs to monetize.
That Apple owns the most engaged mobile users with cash to burn on goods is a bonus.
Last November, iAd Workbench expanded to Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and a whole bunch of other countries.
More information about iAd Workbench and iAd the platform is available on Apple’s website here and here.