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Apple pulls iAds from iOS software geared toward children

post #1 of 28
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Citing a lack of interest from advertisers, Apple has decided it will not display advertisements from its iAd network in applications for the iPhone and iPad that are meant for children, according to one developer.

Mike Zornek, creator of the Pokemon-game-themed "Dex" application for iPhone, sent an e-mail to Apple after his advertising fill rate dropped to 0 percent. As first reported by MacStories, this week he received a reply from a member of Apple iAd Network Support.

"We periodically review the apps in the iAd Network to ensure that all apps receiving ads are aligned with the needs of our advertisers," the employee explained. "Currently, our advertisers prefer that their advertising not appear in applications that are targeted for users that are young children, since their products are not targeted at that audience."

Zornek expressed frustration over Apple's handling of the situation on his personal blog, because the iPhone maker didn't reach out to him to explain the situation beforehand, or post a notification on the iAd developer page. He warned that other developers should "be careful putting all your eggs in one basket."

"Apple should target their ads better," he wrote. "I would have loved to have seen some ads that were better suited to kids in Dex. It's a shame they don't have the inventory to do so. However the manner in which they've made this policy change just stinks."

Because of Apple's change, Zornek was forced to switch to the AdMob network which is owned by Apple's rival, Google. He explained that iAd's average "fill rate," or percentage of advertisements sent to the Dex application after a request was made for one, was 16.5 percent. AdMob's fill rate is reportedly much higher, but the advertisements carry less value than Apple's network.



The iAd network launched in 2010, and key advertisers for the network included Nissan and Unilever, but products for children were not a significant presence. iAds are rich, interactive advertisements that allow users to learn more about a product from within an App Store application, rather than launching a browser and exiting the software.

Though iAds got off to a strong start, some advertisers, such as shoemaker Adidas, were said to be frustrated with Apple and its tight control over the advertising network.

In February, one report indicated that fill rates had dropped significantly for developers utilizing the iAd network. Soon after, Apple cut the entry price for advertisers in half, to $500,000, in an effort to reverse the downward trend of fill rates.
post #2 of 28
Quote:
"Apple should target their ads better," he wrote.

It would seem that that is exactly what they are doing.
post #3 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

It would seem that that is exactly what they are doing.

It would seem not. This is not ad targeting. This is platform lockout. To some extent, it's understandable. But this is not the best way of doing it.
post #4 of 28
How could companies not know how to effectively advertise to children?? Children are the biggest spenders.
post #5 of 28
Add iAD to the list of products that are suffering from a lack of attention and support from Apple - iAd, FaceTime. They may be suffering from the weight of their success. Let's hope not.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaffyDuc View Post

How could companies not know how to effectively advertise to children?? Children are the biggest spenders.

Well. On iOS, companies can no longer advertise to children, it would seem. Jobs won't let them.
post #7 of 28
Developers should be aware that bad ( targeted ) advertising is counter-productive.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Add iAD to the list of products that are suffering from a lack of attention and support from Apple - iAd, FaceTime. They may be suffering from the weight of their success. Let's hope not.

I would be afraid if this is caused by people waiting for Steve to make final decision and/or injecting his personal opinion into the product. Charasmatic ultra successful leader usually lead to people under him feeling tentative about making critical decisions.
post #9 of 28
Does Apple really need ad money ??

Apple should be ad free !!!


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post #10 of 28
Apple's morals should be commended not critised! Advertising aimed at children is not something I agree with. If you want your child to receive advertising, then buy it an Android based product...
post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

Does Apple really need ad money ??

Apple should be ad free !!!


9

Not that simple. Without ads, some developers will migrate to or develop exclusively for Android, because they want or need the ad revenue.

Furthermore, it is potentially a huge source of revenue that Apple cannot ignore. Status quo is the first step to stagnation which leads to becoming historical and irrelevant.
post #12 of 28
I agree with the intention, but they should have let them know. It is silly to market adult products to young kids, so the move to Google does not really solve the basic question. All it does is pay the developer for something of little actual value.
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodline View Post

Apple's morals should be commended not critised!

Except that the decision is not based on morals, just a lack of relevant ads. If Hasbro and Fisher-Price signed up for iAds for their toy lines, Apple would resume showing ads in children's apps.
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodline View Post

Apple's morals should be commended not critised! Advertising aimed at children is not something I agree with. If you want your child to receive advertising, then buy it an Android based product...

Apple's morals not-withstanding, the first line of the article indicates that wasn't why children's ads were pulled. If there were advertiser's willing to spend the $500K in upfront fees to place an iAd targeted at children, Apple would have been happy to take their money. Apparently the advertiser willingness to do so wasn't there.

Quote: Citing a lack of interest from advertisers, Apple has decided it will not display advertisements from its iAd network in applications for the iPhone and iPad that are meant for children

EDIT: Apologies for the similar comments Caliminius. We were posting at the same time.
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post #15 of 28
I don't think it is a moral position, it is simply spin. Apple would gladly send ads to kids if it had any sugar coated cereal sponsors. They just don't have a diverse supply of advertisers and we all know why that is.

Edit: Ditto on the like minded post.

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post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

Does Apple really need ad money ??

Apple should be ad free !!!


9

iAd was developed by Apple to make it easier for its developers to make money. Whether it did that or not is another story.
post #17 of 28
NOOOOO! WHY??? We could have had them smoking by 10
post #18 of 28
The free version of my app was approved yesterday and I just checked this morning that it's making me some money, so I guess it's not happening to every app.

The fill rate for Animal Play Free is currently at 13.4%

I have it set up that if iAd fails to receive an ad, Admob will take over, until iAd receives an ad.

We will see how it all works out.
post #19 of 28
A satisfactory solution might be for advertisers to [be able to] target iAds to "profiles" of users expected to use specific apps.

When a developer submits an app he specifies certain characteristics of the app and its target audience(s).

I can visualize a system where advertisers and developers specify "target profiles" for their offerings.

Then as part of the curation process, Apple could assure that both meet their specified objectives.


An app like Angry Birds would have both children and adult targets -- and could receive ads appropriate to either group.

An app for children only would receive children ads only...

Also, the app could just ask the user...
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post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by caliminius View Post

Except that the decision is not based on morals, just a lack of relevant ads. If Hasbro and Fisher-Price signed up for iAds for their toy lines, Apple would resume showing ads in children's apps.

It just doesn't seem like Apple is successful at making deals with companies to use the iAd platform. I'm sure there's a lot of kids using iPhone/iPad, so this is not a demand issue, but rather the problem of the marketing team. Maybe there's a need for re-org.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaffyDuc View Post

How could companies not know how to effectively advertise to children?? Children are the biggest spenders.

Companies do know how to advertise to children.

The issue is that they don't want to do it via the iAds system. Why should they, the tv is plenty for them. Why spend money on something else.

I applaud Apple for this. If there are not age appropriate ads in the network then there should not be iAds within apps designed just for the kiddies. Imagine the stink that would happen if little Suzy Six Year old was served up a condom ad or such with her Dora the Explorer game. Or little Johnny Eight Year old decided instead of his juice box he was going to try that beer stuff cause it was in his game. Parents would flip out and of course blame Apple and this time they would have a valid case.

Sucks for the game makers but last time I checked, they could still go with AdMob etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brucep View Post

Does Apple really need ad money ??

No. But it was never really about Apple. It was about developers wanting to make a little extra money on their apps. Especially their free ones. There are many apps that aren't really good enough in the eyes of the buyers to pay $4.99 sight unseen, so the developers do free versions. Ads allow them to make a little something off the game if the buyer just keeps going with the free version (in cases like Words with Friends you totally can play for life in the free version).


Quote:
Originally Posted by kriskkalu View Post

The free version of my app was approved yesterday and I just checked this morning that it's making me some money, so I guess it's not happening to every app.

The fill rate for Animal Play Free is currently at 13.4%

I have it set up that if iAd fails to receive an ad, Admob will take over, until iAd receives an ad.


You are getting fill from AdMob. So that is going to cover you no matter what.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


An app like Angry Birds would have both children and adult targets -- and could receive ads appropriate to either group.

An app for children only would receive children ads only...

Also, the app could just ask the user...

A bit missing the point. Apple every likely has a system like this already. But there's nothing to serve up for the kiddie group. The companies that would be age appropriate for the kiddies aren't in the iAds system. So Apple has suspended iAds for that group of apps. Developers are free to still use AdMob with or without iAds. Apple will be out of the loops if AdMob serves up a KY ad to a three year old. Parents will have to blame it on Google's system

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post #22 of 28
This is not Apple being against advertising to kids. It's that the advertiser has to pay per click through, and they probably don't want some dumb kid clicking on their car ad who will never buy.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

It would seem not. This is not ad targeting. This is platform lockout. To some extent, it's understandable. But this is not the best way of doing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Well. On iOS, companies can no longer advertise to children, it would seem. Jobs won't let them.

You need to work on your reading comprehension skills.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Well. On iOS, companies can no longer advertise to children, it would seem. Jobs won't let them.

Not true: companies CAN advertise to children, but, in the first sentence of the article, there is "a lack of interest from advertisers.” That’s all this is.

The article clearly states that the developer in question IS still advertising to children (and hopefully making money) on iOS with AdMob, and Apple has no problem with it.

This came down from Apple’s own iAd advertisers not wanting their ads in kids apps (for good reason, if it’s not their market). Companies CAN advertise to children, but these particular companies don’t want to. AdMob’s advertisers do, so there’s one option for devs of kids’ apps.

I do think Apple should have given the affected developers more notice to switch ad networks, but that’s not a huge deal.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodline View Post

Apple's morals should be commended not critised! Advertising aimed at children is not something I agree with. If you want your child to receive advertising, then buy it an Android based product...

As others have noted, Apple did this as a matter of economics, not ethics. But i agree that advertising targeting young children is really sleazy. Bad enough when it's done on TV, but it seems particularly egregious in apps targeted to children.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Well. On iOS, companies can no longer advertise to children, it would seem. Jobs won't let them.

You need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

A lot of people particularly the younger generation have poor reading comprehension these days. Another sign of an educational system in crisis.
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelligent View Post

Add iAD to the list of products that are suffering from a lack of attention and support from Apple - iAd, FaceTime. They may be suffering from the weight of their success. Let's hope not.

Some stories I read here - tho' I ignore and abhor most advertising, so iAds is not the real target of my comment - make me wonder why Apple's not deploying more of their cash stash on broader and deeper R&D to better compete across a broader spectrum.

Surely, for example, there's utility, profit and marketshare to be found in more than one phone factor, but four years in we still have only one.

Is it a "span of control" issue? A lack of available quality human resources? Something about SJ's personality that desires a manageable universe of SKU's and API's? Or....???

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post #27 of 28
This is why systems like Android and iOS suck when compared to OSX, Windows and such. Too much centralized control. If I as a business man decide that my app will be more profitable with adult targeted ads and a cheap or $0 prce tag than no ads and a larger tag, that is my call, and now Apple has to play Nanny? This is why I am still a Microsoft guy to a large extent, as much as I love Apple products, I hate how tightly they want to control what third parties do with them.


I know I will get flamed to hell for this, but MS is far more open than Apple (Open in this context does not refer to open source, but open to outside innovation of the platforms) Apple wants little cookie cutter toys to run on their iOS stuff, while Windows tablets and WP7 welcome almost anything.

Apple appears to be making the 1980s mistakes all over again, no real innovation in iOS since iOS 2 (iphone os 2 then) we are stuck with grids of icons, hell it took like three years to be able to change the fucking wallpaper on the goddamned phone! This is worse than the 80s though because apple controls the software for iOS and teh accessories to a large extent. Innovation in the 80s and 90s that kept Macintosh alive was all software and hardware vendors working almost in spite of apple rather than with them, untill everything changed in the early 90s and MS took over, then the innovation went to MS untill really about 2007 when iOS came out...Apple may lose it again if they aren't careful..
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post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Hawkeye_ View Post

As others have noted, Apple did this as a matter of economics, not ethics. But i agree that advertising targeting young children is really sleazy. Bad enough when it's done on TV, but it seems particularly egregious in apps targeted to children.

It's not even Apple's doing.

This is like BMW not putting tv commercials on the Nickelodeon channel.
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