Apple pulls iAds from iOS software geared toward children

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,578member
    Quote:

    "Apple should target their ads better," he wrote.



    It would seem that that is exactly what they are doing.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    daffyducdaffyduc Posts: 26member
    How could companies not know how to effectively advertise to children?? Children are the biggest spenders.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    franckfranck Posts: 135member
    Developers should be aware that bad ( targeted ) advertising is counter-productive.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Does Apple really need ad money ??



    Apple should be ad free !!!





    9
  • Reply 9 of 27
    bloodlinebloodline Posts: 16member
    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...
  • Reply 10 of 27
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    rbonnerrbonner Posts: 635member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 27
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,584member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    drfreemandrfreeman Posts: 111member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    whozownwhozown Posts: 128member
    NOOOOO! WHY??? We could have had them smoking by 10
  • Reply 17 of 27
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 27
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,507member
    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...
  • Reply 19 of 27
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 27
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    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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