Steve Jobs said Apple created iAds to help developers make more money. The problem before iAds, to hear Apple tell the tale, had been that mobile ads on the iPhone were a bit of a kludge: different systems supported only basic interaction, they dumped you to Safari most of the time, and as each ad network does things differently, a developer wanting to make ad-supported apps had to do the math every time they signed up. With iAds, developers get 60% of the revenue generated by the ad in their app. They can pretty easily drop them into their apps because the system is built into iOS 4. But will anyone use them?
Advertisers are convinced they will. Quoting Steve via this morning's liveblogs, "So let me tell you some of the brands that will be advertising with us. Nissan, Citi, Unilever, AT&T, Chanel, GE, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Geico, Campbells, Sears, JC Penny, Target, Best Buy, Direct TV, TBS, and Disney... those are some of the brands." Those are no small potatoes. At the keynote Steve demonstrated an iAd for the upcoming Nissan Leaf electric car. It's a compelling ad, to be sure, with an interactive signup feature and even a chance to win a car just through the ad. Steve went so far as to project that Apple would have 48% of the mobile advertising market locked up by the end of this year. That's the $60 million in commitments they've got so far and then some! Granted, this is all new movement, and the ad industry has been desperate for a new play lately, with most "standard" ads on the web being annoying or easy to gloss over. Ad execs are clucking their tongues over the richness of the iAds platform (while seemingly missing the fact that they could have always built engaging experiences on the web this way without resorting to Flash).
On the developer side... Well, I'll do a little informal polling whilst here in San Francisco. But I think Apple will make this so easy to do that it'll be an easy decision for developers ready to serve advertising. My only concern: will these ads be sucking up the precious bandwidth on AT&T's network, causing me overages on data? I guess we'll find out when the system launches July 1 along with iOS 4.
photo courtesy Engadget