Apple investigating automated ad system for podcasts

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2015
Your next podcast listening session could be interrupted by dynamically placed, constantly refreshed and targeted content -- read advertisements -- served up by iAd, if Apple deploys technology described in patent application published Thursday.


Source: USPTO


Titled "Technologies for inserting dynamic content into podcast episodes" and published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's invention is quite simply an automated advertising system for podcasters. The key difference for advertisers used to live reads or spots served up by content owners is potential access to Apple's iAd platform, which provides analytics and backend support for comprehensive user targeting.

Using tools described in today's filing, content creators or ad services would be able to mark one or more insertion points within a given podcast episode, perhaps at a regularly scheduled break time, with a metadata tag. A podcast app tracks playback on a client device and when a tag is reached pauses the episode, dynamically inserts a targeted ad and resumes programming automatically.

Importantly, the ad delivery component is able to feed ads to a client device while a podcast is playing, downloading or streaming. Further, ad inventory can be cached in a local database for varied, and therefore more effective, placement. In another embodiment, the system regularly checks in with a central server to download new ad content in the background, thereby ensuring a consistently fresh and working database.




The ad targeting mechanism is a basic description of Apple's iAd platform, which taps into iTunes account info, anonymized user metrics, device type, rough location, time and more. Deeper integration involves user behavior and demographics targeting, though being a vocal opponent of customer data commoditization, Apple is unlikely to employ such techniques.

Also mentioned are powerful analytics tools that monitor ad playcounts and consumption rates for multiple users over multiple devices. This feedback method provides vital information to a primary or secondary ad service and could in some cases determine payout to a podcaster.

As for the ads themselves, Apple notes a variety of formats including audio, video and interactive content.

It is not known if or when Apple plans to roll out such capabilities, though its iAd business got a shot in the arm earlier this year with the activation of automated ad buying and a consumer targeting tool called Customer Match.

Apple's iAd for podcasts patent application was first filed for in January 2014 and credits James O. Boggs, Ryan Griggs and Sam Gharabally as its inventors.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    Sorry.

    But this totally sucks.

    Visual ads can be minimally to non intrusive based on size and placement.

    Audio ads interrupting a podcast?

    Stupidity.

    Just say no, Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 26



    Many podcasts have advertisements in them already, have for years. Not everyone has the time or inclination to regularly record podcasts without some remuneration and so, ads. This system just means that the ads aren't in the downloads but instead inserted on the fly.

     

    I don't think it will happen. Podcasters don't want to create separate downloads for iOS users, and non-iOS users (or iOS users using an alternative to the Podcasts app) will just ignore the metadata and thus no ads.

  • Reply 3 of 26
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    NO!!

    At least buy Overcast or improve the experience before making us pay with ads :(
  • Reply 4 of 26
    ddawson100ddawson100 Posts: 446member

    Venture cap from Gimlet media and community-effort Radiotopia are good examples of big attempts to find financial footing in the podcast model. It seems like a golden age for podcasts. 

     

    I assume even the largest podcasters, in general, have access to a small pool of advertisers. This is only because the same sponsors appear on most of the ones I listen to. If this benefits the podcasters by simplifying their selling of ad spots I say "yes!" Let the podcasters get back to what they really want to do in the first place.

  • Reply 5 of 26
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The ad targeting mechanism is a basic description of Apple's iAd platform, which taps into iTunes account info, anonymized user metrics, device type, rough location, time and more. Deeper integration involves user behavior and demographics targeting, though being a vocal opponent of customer data commoditization, Apple is unlikely to employ such techniques.

    It seems unlikely that this patent will ever become an actual thing if Tim Cook is to be believed. 

     

    Tim Cook says he is not interested in "gobbling up" our data. He says he is not interested in "monetizing" our data. He says "We think that's wrong. And it's not the kind of company Apple wants to be."

     

    Is Apple really going to make their customers the product too?

     

    I highly doubt it.

  • Reply 6 of 26
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,281member

    I can't see iAD lasting, let alone add ons like this. The income to Apple for running adverts really would be a fraction of a percentage compared to the profit they make selling more stuff to happy Apple users. Why try to make a few bucks here and there and possibly create unhappy Apple users?

  • Reply 7 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    techlover wrote: »
    It seems unlikely that this patent will ever become an actual thing if Tim Cook is to be believed. 

    Tim Cook says he is not interested in "gobbling up" our data. He says he is not interested in "monetizing" our data. He says "We think that's wrong. And it's not the kind of company Apple wants to be."

    Is Apple really going to make their customers the product too?

    I highly doubt it.
    They already do. It's just an relatively insignificant amount of revenue they get from doing so at the moment. Doesn't mean they're not trying to do better. FWIW tho Apple is making strides in putting experienced ad people in place with recent new hires, working closer with advertisers to give them the information they want to better target Apple users, and putting iAds in more places with more eyeballs (and ears). IMO iAd is only going to get bigger and command more attention.

    Do a little reading using search terms like "iAd advertiser news" in your favored search engine. Apple may not talk about it at all in public but they do have an interest in "selling you" and do, despite what Tim Cook may imply in press appearances.

    EDIT: Here's Apple own page for advertisers. There are much more detailed descriptions on other sites detailing what Apple is offering in the way of "user monetization".
    http://advertising.apple.com/news/
  • Reply 8 of 26
    justin ejustin e Posts: 10member
    Think about it for a second. If you are a podcaster, this makes it easy for you to gain some ad money if you choose to have ads in your podcast. All you do is mark the recording before upload. I think it's genius. This doesn't mean your current podcast will have ads, it means that the uploaded can make money to keep the podcast going if they decided too. Also the problem with recorded ads, they get old or irrelevant, especially with promotions. This will allow only current ads to run in your old podcasts.
  • Reply 9 of 26

    Podcasts need to be funded somehow, and this is a way for the average Joe Programmer to fund them, without having the connections to get 3rd party advertisements like the big podcast guns have (think Marc Maron). Having said that, iAd seems to have major, major problems with its fill rate in apps, let-alone moving into podcasts.

  • Reply 10 of 26
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member

    But... But... @Gatorguy Tim Cook said all those things!

     

    Are you telling me that the CEO of one of the worlds most successful multinational corporations was a tad bit disingenuous when he said those things?

     

    I am shocked I tell you! SHOCKED! ;)

     

    Apple sure does seem to be "doubling down" on advertising lately. Especially for a company that does not want to sell "you" or "monetize" your data.

     

    I am sure you saw these:

     

    http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-patent-for-viral-advertising-in-social-media-2015-6?r=UK&IR=T

     

    http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-patent-for-e-commerce-and-mobile-advertising-system-2015-7

     

    But what is happening in the real world? Filing patents is one thing, actually using them is another. I am not sure that I agree with you that Apple are going to push very hard to expand iAds that much. It just doesn't seem worth it for them to piss off their customers, and talk out of both sides of their mouth. All for what amounts to a very small fraction of their bottom line.

     

    Then again, you might be right. 

  • Reply 11 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    techlover wrote: »
    But... But... <a data-huddler-embed="href" href="/u/100667/Gatorguy" style="display:inline-block;">@Gatorguy</a>
    Tim Cook said all those things!

    Are you telling me that the CEO of one of the worlds most successful multinational corporations was a tad bit disingenuous when he said those things?

    What he factually said is accurate. In essence he talks about about "selling" user data from cloud storage and email, noting Apple doesn't do that. In fact the focus of his comments are often email/messages related. He doesn't say Apple doesn't monetize their users data, what we sometimes fondly call "you're the product". Why? Because it would not be true. Now if your takeaway from his press appearances is that Apple doesn't "sell you" there's no surprise. That's what he intended readers to think. But that's not what he says.

    He may spin a bit (which company doesn't) and without a doubt very carefully chooses his words but I don't know of an instance where he outright lied. He's an honest man with important values he believes in IMHO. A great CEO for Apple.
  • Reply 12 of 26
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

     
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post



    But... But... @Gatorguy

    Tim Cook said all those things!



    Are you telling me that the CEO of one of the worlds most successful multinational corporations was a tad bit disingenuous when he said those things?




    What he factually said is accurate. In essence he talks about about "selling" user data from cloud storage and email, noting Apple doesn't do that. In fact the focus of his comments are often email/messages related. He doesn't say Apple doesn't monetize their users data, what we sometimes fondly call "you're the product". Why? Because it would not be true. Now if your takeaway from his press appearances is that Apple doesn't "sell you" there's no surprise. That's what he intended readers to think. But that's not what he says.



    He may spin a bit (which company doesn't) and without a doubt very carefully chooses his words but I don't know of an instance where he outright lied. He's an honest man with important values he believes in IMHO. A great CEO for Apple.

    He said:

     

     “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

     

    So parsing that quote, you are right. Apple may only be "gobbling up" some things they can learn about you in order to "monetize". Not "everything".

     

    Also I agree, Cook is possibly the best CEO on the planet by just about any measure right now. Especially if you are a shareholder.

     

    Reading up on iAds it appears that Apple is in earnest trying to expand. It would appear that rather than trying to piss off their customers, they are trying to establish a perceived safe haven for their users by controlling the entire end to end experience in one garden. Coming out with ad blocking while expanding their own advertising platform leads me to believe they want to control everything "in house". They certainly have the user base to give it a solid go.

  • Reply 13 of 26
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    evilution wrote: »
    I can't see iAD lasting, let alone add ons like this. The income to Apple for running adverts really would be a fraction of a percentage compared to the profit they make selling more stuff to happy Apple users. Why try to make a few bucks here and there and possibly create unhappy Apple users?

    The money from the ads go to the content creators, not Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 26
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    techlover wrote: »
    gatorguy wrote: »
     
    techlover wrote: »
    But... But... <a data-huddler-embed="href" href="/u/100667/Gatorguy" style="display:inline-block;">@Gatorguy</a>


    Tim Cook said all those things!


    Are you telling me that the CEO of one of the worlds most successful multinational corporations was a tad bit disingenuous when he said those things?


    What he factually said is accurate. In essence he talks about about "selling" user data from cloud storage and email, noting Apple doesn't do that. In fact the focus of his comments are often email/messages related. He doesn't say Apple doesn't monetize their users data, what we sometimes fondly call "you're the product". Why? Because it would not be true. Now if your takeaway from his press appearances is that Apple doesn't "sell you" there's no surprise. That's what he intended readers to think. But that's not what he says.


    He may spin a bit (which company doesn't) and without a doubt very carefully chooses his words but I don't know of an instance where he outright lied. He's an honest man with important values he believes in IMHO. A great CEO for Apple.
    He said:

     “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

    So parsing that quote, you are right. Apple may only be "gobbling up" some things they can learn about you in order to "monetize". Not "everything".

    Also I agree, Cook is possibly the best CEO on the planet by just about any measure right now. Especially if you are a shareholder.

    Reading up on iAds it appears that Apple is in earnest trying to expand. It would appear that rather than trying to piss off their customers, they are trying to establish a perceived safe haven for their users by controlling the entire end to end experience in one garden. Coming out with ad blocking while expanding their own advertising platform leads me to believe they want to control everything "in house". They certainly have the user base to give it a solid go.

    Except that 'everything that can be learned' and 'some things' could very well be one and the same.
  • Reply 15 of 26
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Evilution View Post



    I can't see iAD lasting, let alone add ons like this. The income to Apple for running adverts really would be a fraction of a percentage compared to the profit they make selling more stuff to happy Apple users. Why try to make a few bucks here and there and possibly create unhappy Apple users?




    The money from the ads go to the content creators, not Apple.

    Originally Apple was taking a 40% cut of the ads, now they take a 30% cut.

     

    http://www.imore.com/iad

     

    Unless something has changed and they now take 0%. Please send a link if you have new info.

  • Reply 16 of 26
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,951member
    techlover wrote: »
    dasanman69 wrote: »
     
    evilution wrote: »
    I can't see iAD lasting, let alone add ons like this. The income to Apple for running adverts really would be a fraction of a percentage compared to the profit they make selling more stuff to happy Apple users. Why try to make a few bucks here and there and possibly create unhappy Apple users?


    The money from the ads go to the content creators, not Apple.
    Originally Apple was taking a 40% cut of the ads, now they take a 30% cut.

    http://www.imore.com/iad

    Unless something has changed and they now take 0%. Please send a link if you have new info.


    I figured that was known, and unnecessary to mention.
  • Reply 17 of 26
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post



     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post



    But... But... @Gatorguy





    Tim Cook said all those things!





    Are you telling me that the CEO of one of the worlds most successful multinational corporations was a tad bit disingenuous when he said those things?






    What he factually said is accurate. In essence he talks about about "selling" user data from cloud storage and email, noting Apple doesn't do that. In fact the focus of his comments are often email/messages related. He doesn't say Apple doesn't monetize their users data, what we sometimes fondly call "you're the product". Why? Because it would not be true. Now if your takeaway from his press appearances is that Apple doesn't "sell you" there's no surprise. That's what he intended readers to think. But that's not what he says.





    He may spin a bit (which company doesn't) and without a doubt very carefully chooses his words but I don't know of an instance where he outright lied. He's an honest man with important values he believes in IMHO. A great CEO for Apple.


    He said:



     “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”



    So parsing that quote, you are right. Apple may only be "gobbling up" some things they can learn about you in order to "monetize". Not "everything".



    Also I agree, Cook is possibly the best CEO on the planet by just about any measure right now. Especially if you are a shareholder.



    Reading up on iAds it appears that Apple is in earnest trying to expand. It would appear that rather than trying to piss off their customers, they are trying to establish a perceived safe haven for their users by controlling the entire end to end experience in one garden. Coming out with ad blocking while expanding their own advertising platform leads me to believe they want to control everything "in house". They certainly have the user base to give it a solid go.




    Except that 'everything that can be learned' and 'some things' could very well be one and the same.

    True.

     

    But I think the point that @Gatorguy was trying to make is that for example, Apple does not scan your emails for marketing purposes. This would fall in line with what Tim Cook said, that they do not "learn everything" about you like others do.

     

    So while they may track and monetize some data, they are not trying to track anything and everything. Tracking your email seems to be one of the bigger sticking points.

  • Reply 18 of 26
    techlovertechlover Posts: 879member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TechLover View Post

     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post



     
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Evilution View Post



    I can't see iAD lasting, let alone add ons like this. The income to Apple for running adverts really would be a fraction of a percentage compared to the profit they make selling more stuff to happy Apple users. Why try to make a few bucks here and there and possibly create unhappy Apple users?






    The money from the ads go to the content creators, not Apple.


    Originally Apple was taking a 40% cut of the ads, now they take a 30% cut.



    http://www.imore.com/iad



    Unless something has changed and they now take 0%. Please send a link if you have new info.






    I figured that was known, and unnecessary to mention.

    My apologies for misunderstanding your post.

     

    It appeared to me that you meant that Apple gets nothing and the content creators get everything.

     

    No worries. :)

  • Reply 19 of 26
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,731member
    techlover wrote: »
    True.

    But I think the point that <a data-huddler-embed="href" href="/u/100667/Gatorguy" style="display:inline-block;">@Gatorguy</a>
     was trying to make is that for example, Apple does not scan your emails for marketing purposes. This would fall in line with what Tim Cook said, that they do not "learn everything" about you like others do.

    So while they may track and monetize some data, they are not trying to track anything and everything. Tracking your email seems to be one of the bigger sticking points.
    Here's where things get muddy tho. Did you know that Acxiom, the planet's biggest data aggregator and seller of personal data works with Apple and iAd to more effectively identify and target specific Apple customers? I only recently became aware of it myself and you will never see Apple mention it IMHO for obvious reasons.

    So yes iAd marketers may know exactly who you are, your real name, your exact address, phone number and email, family demographics and medical and/or financial information. But it's technically not data tracked nor packaged by Apple themselves so they can accurately claim relatively clean hands.
  • Reply 20 of 26
    9secondko9secondko Posts: 929member
    gadgetdon wrote: »

    Many podcasts have advertisements in them already, have for years. Not everyone has the time or inclination to regularly record podcasts without some remuneration and so, ads. This system just means that the ads aren't in the downloads but instead inserted on the fly.

    I don't think it will happen. Podcasters don't want to create separate downloads for iOS users, and non-iOS users (or iOS users using an alternative to the Podcasts app) will just ignore the metadata and thus no ads.


    Haven't heard a single one yet buddy.
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