Apple reportedly tested search ads in Maps in bid to expand advertising business

Ads could come to the Maps, Podcasts and Books apps.


Apple may be planning to bring ads to more of its first-party apps. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the company has conducted internal tests of a version of Maps that features search ads. Apple already employs similar advertisements within the App Store.

Developers can pay the company to get their software to show up at the top of the search results page when you input specific terms. Gurman suggests search ads in Maps would work in much the same way. For instance, a Japanese restaurant could pay Apple for their business to show up higher in local listings when people use search terms like “sushi.” Gurman believes Apple could implement similar ads in its Podcasts and Books apps. He says the company could begin offering an ad-supported tier through Apple TV+.

Gurman attributes the potential push to Todd Teresi, the vice president in charge of the company’s advertising division. Teresi recently began reporting directly to services chief Eddy Cue and has reportedly talked of greatly expanding his team’s impact. The division generates about $4 billion in annual revenue. Teresi’s ambition is to increase that number to the double digits. That would require a significant expansion of Apple’s current advertising efforts.

A wider advertising push would be an about-face for a company that has, at least externally, positioned itself as a champion of user privacy. With the release of iOS 14.5, Apple introduced a feature called App Tracking Transparency. The prompt allows you to prevent apps from logging your activity across other apps and websites. In 2022, it’s estimated the policy will cost Facebook parent company Meta approximately $13 billion in lost revenue. When Apple announced ATT at WWDC 2020, the company publicly said it designed the feature to protect user privacy. A recent report from The Wall Street Journal, which said the company pursued a revenue-sharing agreement with Facebook, suggests its motivations with ATT may have not been so altruistic.