What Does Apple’s iAd Global Expansion Mean for Search Marketers?

Since Apple’s launch of iAd in July 2010, it has continued to grow vastly. iAd began serving advertisements only on iPhones and iPod touch, and it wasn’t until November 2010 that ads began serving on iPads as well. Over the course of its ad serving, iAds has decreased its minimum amount of an advertising contract from $500,000 to $50 in an effort to compete with ad servers such as Google. What does Apple’s iAds offering mean for search marketers?

From its first induction, iAd started quite small in the global realm, serving only a few other regions such as the U.K., France, and Germany and remained that way until about one month ago. We noticed that over the last few months, Apple has stepped it up by adding nine new countries in Europe to make the platform available in 25 different countries. At the end of October, Apple released the largest expansion for the platform, quadrupling iAd’s previous reach by adding 70 countries giving the platform a current reach of 95 countries total. Not only has Apple improved the platform’s reach globally, but it has also added retargeting capabilities in the platform in iOS 8.

How Do iAds work?

The beauty of the Apple platform, much like Apple’s other products, is its simplicity. The platform is extremely user-friendly and offers some great features like ad creation tools.


To start you create an iAd Workbench account using an Apple ID. Then the platform takes you to create an account profile where you can add users and set up contact information. Once the basic profile is completed it’s as simple as clicking “Create Campaign” and filling out the appropriate campaign parameters. Your ads will be up and running within 24 to 48 hours and Apple will notify you of ads going live.


Within the campaign creation aspect of the platform Apple gives the option of audience, placement, ad creation, and price. When selecting audience the advertiser may select personally or allow Apple to chose based of collected data. Choosing placement is also rather similar; you may pick advertisements to run to various apps and on iTunes Radio. Once audience and placement is chosen the Workbench continues to ad creation and then to choose the price to pay for advertising.

Apple also has software, the iAd Producer to easily create and design iAds.

Recently, Apple launched their retargeting capability. This will allow for advertisers to follow visitors, on their iPhone and iPads, across different apps and Web pages. This advancement in iAd’s platform will probably get advertisers to take a second look at the platform and give it more of a competitive presence amongst Google and Facebook.

So What Does This Mean for the Search Industry?

As paid search moves more and more from desktop to mobile, the options to just do paid search on a mobile device are limited in terms of on-screen visibility and the use of mobile apps. I recently read an interesting study showing that mobile search dollars will be shifting away from Google’s paid search results in the near future. The article points to an eMarketer report that states that by 2018, nearly 86 percent of digital ad search dollars will go to mobile and Google’s share of this amount will fall to 64.2 percent.


Search marketers, in response, need to hone  their ad buying skills and diversify their spends. Utilizing iAds, as well as other mobile display ads (including in-app ads and other effective mobile targeted advertising), along with paid search will increase the level of effectiveness of campaigns that are being run.

International search marketers have even more incentive to pay attention to mobile ad buying, according Forrester Research, as the world mobile and smartphone adoption is expected to reach 3.5 billion by 2019.

How to Use iAds in Different Countries

The process of creating the ads is all the same, however with the global expansion of iAd serving, advertisers must remember cultural nuances and the effect of those nuances in advertising. It is important to have ads localized to the country and region in which they are being served, including relevant localized landing pages and the development of creative that speaks properly to the target market.

With Apple enhancing iAd to have more of a global reach and retargeting capabilities, there is more competition for mobile ad serving. Now advertisers have more options when it comes to mobile and can utilize the enhanced features that iAd offers.

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