Apple's iAd Takes on Google With Targeted Mobile Advertising

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Apr 12, 2001
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Bloomberg takes a look at Apple's new iAd platform and how the company is using its vast database of customer information to target advertising campaigns and get a leg up on Google in the mobile advertising space.
Relying on the music, videos and apps that customers are downloading from its iTunes, App Store and iBooks helps Apple sketch a behavioral profile that can be paired with appropriate promotional messages. On its website, Apple says its "standard targeting options" include demographics, application preferences, music passions, movie genre interests, television genre interests and location.
Google, which has made its search business in large part on its ability to deliver targeted ads, has similar capabilities to Apple, with its search results, email offerings, and Android platform serving as sources for customer information that it could use for targeting mobile ads. But what it doesn't have is access to Apple's ecosystem administered through the iTunes Store, a limitation that gives Apple a significant advantage on its own iOS platform that has reportedly surpassed 100 million devices sold.

Today's report points to Unilever's "Dove Men+Care" soap campaign, one of the launch iAd campaigns, as an example of Apple's iAd program in action.
Unilever, which began working with Apple in May on a campaign for its Dove Men+Care soap, is using iAd to zero in on married men who are in their late 30s and have children.

"Apple then overlays that with the iTunes information and targets quite well and quite surgically," said Rob Candelino, marketing director at Unilever, based in London and Rotterdam.

Apple doesn't share information on individuals, Candelino said. Instead, Unilever can choose to advertise in certain "buckets" of applications, such as those on news or entertainment, based on characteristics of its users.
Despite comments from Apple CEO Steve Jobs last month revealing that the company has already locked up $60 million in iAd commitments for the second half of this year, a number of questions remain about the program, ranging from privacy and antitrust concerns to worries about whether it can live up to the hype and deliver the kind of customer response advertisers are expecting and for which they are paying top dollar.

Article Link: Apple's iAd Takes on Google With Targeted Mobile Advertising
 

ChazUK

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
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Essex (UK)
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2; en-gb; Nexus One Build/FRF91) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1)

As long as it means moar monies for developers = win in my books.
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2003
1,377
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Somewhere in the USA
It bears repeating:

"How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network"
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4228

Until Apple is more up-front about whom it shares the information with and for how long, opting out is something to consider seriously. Then again, since we don't know what info it is sharing with whom, we don't know how much good opting out does, either...
 

Jeremy1026

macrumors 68020
Nov 3, 2007
2,203
957
It bears repeating:

"How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network"
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4228

Until Apple is more up-front about whom it shares the information with and for how long, opting out is something to consider seriously. Then again, since we don't know what info it is sharing with whom, we don't know how much good opting out does, either...
I'm sure Apple is sharing your name, social security number, address, when you aren't home (via secret GPS tracking of your device), bank account information, and the 3-digit code on the back of all your cards. They give this information to anyone who asks politely.
 

afireintonto

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2008
744
0
Portland
I like targeted ad's, at least I'm usually interested in them. Sometimes a lucky click will lead somewhere useful!
I'm excited to see iad's on the ipad in the fall.
 

ShiftyPig

macrumors 6502a
Aug 24, 2008
567
0
AU
I'm sure Apple is sharing your name, social security number, address, when you aren't home (via secret GPS tracking of your device), bank account information, and the 3-digit code on the back of all your cards. They give this information to anyone who asks politely.
Can I please have yours?
 

rmhurdman

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2009
21
0
I would also prefer to see relevant rather than irrelevant ads. If I don't want to see ads at all, I guess I could pay for the application, no?
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2003
1,377
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Somewhere in the USA
I'm sure Apple is sharing your name, social security number, address, when you aren't home (via secret GPS tracking of your device), bank account information, and the 3-digit code on the back of all your cards. They give this information to anyone who asks politely.
Nice strawman argument, Jeremy. If you'd like to actually refute what I said instead of attacking some imaginary post, that would be appreciated.

I did not say Apple shares "your name, social security number, address, when you aren't home (via secret GPS tracking of your device), bank account information, and the 3-digit code on the back of all your cards."

I said they don't say whom they share information with (their privacy policy just states geo info can be used by Apple "and our partners and licensees", two very broad-reaching terms that aren't defined in the privacy policy) nor for how long Apple or any of its nebulous partners can keep the info (as pointed out by the LA Times).

Until Apple releases more details on what information is used by whom (instead of given token, non-binding examples of how some information might be used), people should know there is a way to opt out and seriously consider this option. That is all I'm saying.
 

running

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2006
58
0
So, apple
  • forces me to buy apps from the app store
  • limits ability to buy songs and ringtones from i-devices to iTunes
  • then, integrates iAds right down into the operating system and automatically uses the data from iTunes store, which they forced me to use, sells it to other parties, and lastly
  • blocks other ad networks by unnecessary restrictions.

People say Google is evil, but this is far worse than what. I really hope this behavior won't find its way to OS X.
 

Full of Win

macrumors 68030
Nov 22, 2007
2,615
1
Ask Apple
1. Does opting-out prevent this?
2. If so, when does it take affect (e.g. what of analysis before opting out)

It makes me sick that, after I pay for a service, Apple treats our data like a crop to be collected and sold on the open market.

People say Google is evil, but this is far worse than what. I really hope this behavior won't find its way to OS X.
Many in this place are so wrapped up in their Stockholm Syndrome with Apple, that they simply do not see this. Apple makes Google and Microsoft look tame by comparison.
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2003
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Somewhere in the USA
I would also prefer to see relevant rather than irrelevant ads.
As would I. My first preference would be no ads at all, but if I'm going to get ads then I would prefer relevant ones. But if the price is having my information shared by Apple to unknown third parties, then I'd prefer generic ads.

If I don't want to see ads at all, I guess I could pay for the application, no?
For apps that this is an option for, then yes, one could purchase the paid version. (This is not always the case, however.) I have a number of apps that I've purchased the paid version for in order to support the developer, with the added bonus of not having ads.

I'm fine with people choosing to get targeted ads. Right now, we have an opt-out instead of an opt-in. Besides people who follow Apple closely, I think a lot of users don't know there is a choice, nor do they know that Apple has not given specifics about the use of their information if they don't opt out.
 

Michael73

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2007
1,078
33
First off, $60M is a drop in the bucket for Google...a rounding error. Some of it's largest advertisers spend multiples of that each year. Google rakes in billions upon billions of dollars from advertisers. I'd be less concerned with Apple and keeping a closer eye on the MicroHoo alliance coming in the autumn.

Second, there isn't as much overlap as one would think with this paid advertising. B2B online spend is in the billions of dollars annually which I doubt Apple will be able to capture more than a small fraction of (if any).

The whole concept of receptivity should be dramatically higher with search than with advertising on iTunes. I mean think about it. If I'm a male in my late 30s with kids, am I going to be more inclined to look at an ad for a Toyota minivan if it comes up along side stuff in iTunes when I'm searching for a CNN app or when I type in "minivan reviews" in a google search box.

I wouldn't call iAds a fail, but I don't see it being a significant contributor to the bottom line for a long time. AppleTVs probably add more to the company's bottom line than iAds do and they label it, "a hobby."
 

Jetson

macrumors 6502a
Oct 5, 2003
572
38
I don't want to be bombarded with advertising on my iPod. I paid for my iPod and apps with certain expectations, and being pestered with banners and ads is not one of those expectations.


Apple is changing its covenant with its customers in several significant ways:
  • I can no longer simply sync my iPod without going onto the grid. iTunes will now "phone home" to Apple before allowing the sync. Twice now I've gotten a message that an error occurred at the iTunes Store and my iPod has been bricked. I have to take it to the "Genius Bar" to get it reset. Besides the inconvenience and annoyance, who knows what Apple does with your private info (songs, photos, contacts, etc.) once they get a hold of your device. I'm no longer in control of my own data.
  • Apple fanboys claim that "hooray! ads are good", claiming that only free apps will have ads and that this is a great way for developers to get paid while delivering free apps. Apple has said nothing about iAds or any ads being restricted to free apps. I have every reason to believe that all apps will be fair game.
  • I don't know what the business model is for how Apple and the developers will share in advertising revenue. But one thing is clear - this benefits Apple and to a lesser extent the developers only. The customer now will have to put up with advertisements. It's ridiculous to assume that customers WANT ads.
  • The opt-out option does not stop the ads - only the iAds. You'll have to use 3rd party software to stop messages from ad generating websites.
The camel's nose is poking through the tent flap. Intrusions into your privacy, your ability to even sync your iPod without big brother Apple saying it's ok, annoying banners and ads, your whereabouts being stored in databases, etc... Apple has changed the paradigm in which it views and treats it's customers.
 

PecanEater

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2007
283
0
As would I. My first preference would be no ads at all, but if I'm going to get ads then I would prefer relevant ones. But if the price is having my information shared by Apple to unknown third parties, then I'd prefer generic ads.
The problem is that opting out doesn't prevent Apple from sharing the data. My understanding of the opt out is that it only stops the person from receiving targeted ads. They're still using your data.
 

scwinsett

macrumors 6502a
Apr 21, 2010
663
345
Nashville, TN
I'm sure Apple is sharing your name, social security number, address, when you aren't home (via secret GPS tracking of your device), bank account information, and the 3-digit code on the back of all your cards. They give this information to anyone who asks politely.
I am a professional comedian, and this is some sharp wit.
The guy you said this to got all pissy about it, but seriously, this is great.
The real jewel here is the line about "the 3-digit code on the back of..your cards".

Okay I'm done, I just had to point out how funny this is.


In all seriousness however, this iAd stuff is a waste of time to me. They're taking something that really no one likes, advertisements, and making them cool. I don't want my ads to be cool. I want them to be easily ignored.

iAd. A Revolutionary new way to not give a $h!t about products and services.
 

vitrector

macrumors member
Jan 18, 2002
70
0
So, apple
  • forces me to buy apps from the app store
  • limits ability to buy songs and ringtones from i-devices to iTunes
  • then, integrates iAds right down into the operating system and automatically uses the data from iTunes store, which they forced me to use, sells it to other parties, and lastly
  • blocks other ad networks by unnecessary restrictions.

People say Google is evil, but this is far worse than what. I really hope this behavior won't find its way to OS X.
Google is far more evil, they have not shared with the public what they are doing, and they are doing far worse things than Apple. Remember the recently reported Google street mapping cars tracking websites used by different wifi networks - like your home network - "accidentally"
Google for a very long time has been in the business of behavior and usage tracking. They are very quiet about it, but increase their intrusion into peoples' and businesses' lives by offering a larger and larger gamut of services. Search, e-mail, software, browser, OSes, google voice - each covers a different part of folks' behavior, and it all gets monitized by profiling with greater and greater accuracy.
To get all bent out of shape over Apple's practices, esp. when they actually disclose upfront what they are doing, is pathetic. Because, after the disclosure you can just opt out, and do not need to get your panties all tangled up.
Where is Google's opt out??
 

autrefois

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2003
1,377
1,094
Somewhere in the USA
The problem is that opting out doesn't prevent Apple from sharing the data. My understanding of the opt out is that it only stops the person from receiving targeted ads. They're still using your data.
It's true that the language isn't even completely clear about what opting out does, and it's good to emphasize this. That's part of the reason why I linked to the KB article (which has a link to the policy) in my first post, instead of just posting the opt-out link, so people can try to make an informed decision on this instead of the knee-jerk reactions some people seem to have.

I am a professional comedian, and this is some sharp wit.
The guy you said this to got all pissy about it, but seriously, this is great.
The real jewel here is the line about "the 3-digit code on the back of..your cards".
I agree that Jeremy1026's post was funny, and maybe I should have said that. It was humor with a clear point, though. I thought it was important to draw a distinction between what I was saying and the few people who really do think Apple would share all the info he mentioned. They're not at that point....yet.
 

pixelcruncher

macrumors member
Jul 22, 2009
64
0
1. I pay for my iPhone (Apple has very profitable margins)
2. I pay for ad-free apps (whatever the developer asks)
3. I pay my monthly AT&T bill (which ain't cheap)
4. I view ad-supported sites and use ad-supported services like Google should I choose to.
5. I have opted out of iAds (direct iPhone browser to: http://oo.apple.com)

So, the iAds support no content,service, or product that I haven't already compensated some third-party for.

I hope I never see one, but I'm sure Apple has other plans. Getting me to look at ads is a much higher priority than updating Macs, the MAC OS, or Apple branded software.
 

Master Chief

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2009
901
0
I'm surprised that nobody here zoomed in on this part of that article:

"...is using iAd to zero in on married men who are in their late 30s and have children..."

Please, tell me something; How do they [Apple Inc] know that I am married, and have children, or not?

Note: Opting-out of iAds won't prevent Apple from retrieving and storing your GPS location – in their databases – but only stops iAds aka targeted ads from appearing (will be used by non-targeted ads).
 

rmhurdman

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2009
21
0
...Right now, we have an opt-out instead of an opt-in. Besides people who follow Apple closely, I think a lot of users don't know there is a choice, nor do they know that Apple has not given specifics about the use of their information if they don't opt out.
And you're right that opt-in would be better for us (but worse for Apple) than opt-out. I would still probably opt-in, however, if I want ads to support the apps I use. (Make that "will use" when I get my first ever iPhone 4 at release in Canada.)

I don't think privacy is a right, and I don't know that it's even valuable. Of course, I could change my mind over time, but for now I think too many people get too up-in-arms about their privacy. Maybe it's egotism: if I won't tell you about myself, maybe I can pretend that you'd really like to know and I can feel like my secrets are worth knowing.
 

PsudoPowerPoint

macrumors regular
Sep 18, 2008
124
0
San Diego CA, USA
It bears repeating:

"How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network"
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4228

Until Apple is more up-front about whom it shares the information with and for how long, opting out is something to consider seriously. Then again, since we don't know what info it is sharing with whom, we don't know how much good opting out does, either...
Thanks for posting the link, but it doesn't go as far as I'd like to opt-out.

I'd rather not have Apple share any information about me with anybody, I just don't see it being to my benefit. I'm perfectly willing to pay a full, fair price for an app that has no adds, or to do without the app entirely.

The app store should indicate what information each app or iAd will share so we can each make an informed decision about what apps to download.
 

PeterQVenkman

macrumors 68020
Mar 4, 2005
2,023
0
It bears repeating:

"How to opt out of interest-based ads from the iAd network"
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4228

Until Apple is more up-front about whom it shares the information with and for how long, opting out is something to consider seriously. Then again, since we don't know what info it is sharing with whom, we don't know how much good opting out does, either...
Good advice! These quotes from Apple seem especially misleading:

Unilever, which began working with Apple in May on a campaign for its Dove Men+Care soap, is using iAd to zero in on married men who are in their late 30s and have children.

Apple doesn't share information on individuals, Candelino said. Instead, Unilever can choose to advertise in certain "buckets" of applications, such as those on news or entertainment, based on characteristics of its users.
Those two quotes seem to go against each other a bit. We don't share information, but we're targeting married men in their 30's with kids who live in downtown Baltimore named Joe Smith.

Umm, yeah. Sure Apple.


I don't think privacy is a right, and I don't know that it's even valuable. Of course, I could change my mind over time, but for now I think too many people get too up-in-arms about their privacy. Maybe it's egotism: if I won't tell you about myself, maybe I can pretend that you'd really like to know and I can feel like my secrets are worth knowing.
Privacy is most certainly your right in the United States. And don't expect anyone, especially commercial entities, to treat your personal information with respect. Always be on the lookout. That way when a company does the right thing, you're pleasantly surprised. When they screw up, or try to screw you over, you're ready.
 

donny77

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2009
83
0
I'm surprised that nobody here zoomed in on this part of that article:

"...is using iAd to zero in on married men who are in their late 30s and have children..."

Please, tell me something; How do they [Apple Inc] know that I am married, and have children, or not?

Note: Opting-out of iAds won't prevent Apple from retrieving and storing your GPS location – in their databases – but only stops iAds aka targeted ads from appearing (will be used by non-targeted ads).
Credit Score. This is all been done before. The difference is "evil" Apple is telling us what they are doing. Everyone else has been secretly using this info for decades.
 

rmhurdman

macrumors newbie
Sep 23, 2009
21
0
Privacy is most certainly your right in the United States. And expect anyone, especially commercial entities, to treat your personal information with respect. Always be on the lookout.
Thanks for the detailed and thorough analysis. I found your debating style to be especially informative and thought-provoking.