You have probably seen the news that Apple is ending its mobile advertising solution, iAd, after trying to make it work since its 2010 launch. Advertisers were never really on board with the less intrusive approach of the Apple offering, so they probably won’t be shedding any tears. You may be thinking that this is good news for the apparent success stories of mobile advertising; Google and Facebook, but is it?
There is no doubt that Apple’s iAd venture has not worked, but the reality is that Apple probably isn’t going to lose any sleep over the fact. We’re going to take a look at why and examine what the reality is about Facebook’s apparent mobile advertising success.
Taking a look at the figures, you can see why Apple decided to call it quits with iAd. Estimates from eMarketer suggest that Apple had just 2.6% of the US mobile advertising market in 2015, compared with 32.9% for Google and 19.4% for Facebook. The fact is that, although this appears to be a bad thing for Apple, it really isn’t when you look at the wider picture. Apple is hugely successful when it comes to hardware. It is basically strangling the opposition with its success. Apple secured revenue of $130 billion from its iPhone and iPad in 2014, compared to the paltry $11.8 billion secured by Google search. You can see why Apple is not going to be especially concerned about the iAd exit.
What about other mobile advertising?
The mobile advertising market has proved difficult to navigate for many who have tried. The truth is that even the apparent success of Facebook in the area isn’t exactly what it seems. Reports by Marin software in 2015 showed that 63% of clicks on Facebook ads were made from mobile devices, in the fourth quarter of 2014. In itself, that’s a fairly impressive figure, but then you need to consider that only 34% of conversions happened on smartphones. This second figure paints a less rosy picture.
Of course, providers like Facebook do work on improving their mobile advertising offering; several new features have just been added to Facebook lead-generation-based mobile ads. These features include the provision for advertisers to add pop-ups following a click, and before a sign-up form. These pop-ups provide the opportunity to give more information about the product or service.
It remains to be seen whether these new features will have any impact on Facebook mobile ads conversion rates, but it certainly doesn’t seem as though any provider is really setting the world of mobile advertising on fire. It’s a difficult market to achieve success in and Apple is probably happy to have removed itself.