Episode 41: Apple Advertising: Ads for Apple Podcasts, Maps, & TV Are Coming

Aside from on its App Store, Apple has not offered advertising on its platforms and products. This could change: leading up to Apple’s big event on September 7th, rumors have leaked indicating Apple is about to launch advertising within their other applications. Intentional or not, their fight against third-party data has had significant impacts on advertising and analytics platforms including Facebook and Google. Apple has hired some of the top search and advertising platform talent recently, including a high-level exec from the Google Ads team. This move was shrouded in mystery at the time, but their motives are becoming clearer as the rumor mill has begun to run in overdrive. It’s expected that Apple Podcasts, Apple Books, Apple Maps, and Apple TV will begin to allow ad placements. All of this will be achieved using first-party data only to not violate their own tracking policies.

In this week’s Digital Marketing Mondays, Devin discusses the rumors surrounding the future of Apple ads and how this will affect the digital marketing landscape.



You’re listening to Digital Marketing Mondays. Each week we bring you new and exciting content from around the marketing industry and help give you, the marketer, insights into what’s happening. We’ll offer our advice and share some takeaways to help you develop better strategies for your marketing. Ideally, this will also help you improve your ROI as well. So with that, let’s tune into this week’s episode. 

Today’s episode of Digital Marketing Mondays is hosted just by me. Hans is unavailable today for the recording, but we’ve got some interesting topics in store to talk about today. Particularly the most notable thing is that Apple has a big event coming up on September 7th, but leading into that event and announcement there have been rumors floating around that they will be potentially launching advertising within some of their other applications. Up until this point Apple only allows you to advertise within the app store and it’s specifically to promote different applications or different software apps within the app store. You’re able to sponsor it and at the moment, you can also exclusively do that based on either search terms, very similar to Google search ads, or the ability to actually target them by remarketing potentially. But those are generally pretty limited. Certainly not everybody or every business benefits from using that type of app promotion. So in lieu of that, they seem to be getting close to rolling out additional advertising. 

Now, rumor has it that it’s going to be for Maps, Books and Podcasts. To me, the most interesting one is podcasts given that there’s a lot of advertisers. There’s a lot of noise now, a lot of folks that are producing podcasts. So the ability to sponsor a podcast based on a particular topic is going to be in theory an interesting one. If you recall, several months ago we did another episode talking about this, but at the time, all that we knew was that they were hiring quite a bench of search experts and advertising platform experts, including a high-level exec from the Google Ads team as well as a bunch of other different ad and software engineers that were specifically working on some type of advertising platform. At this point, it’s reasonable to expect that there’s going to be an expansion of advertising within the Apple ecosystem sometime within the next six months is my guess. 

What’s also particularly interesting about this shift is that Apple, of course, within the last two years has really been adamant about reducing cross-device tracking, or particularly getting cookie-blocking type tech enabled to not allow competitors like Facebook to leverage the data that people unwillingly are giving away and forcing those other companies to take a potentially large hit. As we had previously talked about on this podcast, it seemed that some of Facebook’s revenue targets had been decreased by potentially upwards of I think it was $10 billion if I’m not mistaken. So the fact is they’ve kicked the other advertisers at the knees, and now this is the next step where they actually truly have first-party data that they can leverage and be able to seemingly introduce advertising in a non-intrusive way and does not violate their own tracking policies. 

This is going to be a particularly interesting shift in terms of what happens. I’m also fascinated by the idea that there will be other forms of ads now introduced into the Apple ecosystem. I’m sure as a lot of us, especially Apple users like iPhone or Mac device users like myself, we’ve been accustomed for years and years and years to not have really any form of advertising somehow natively baked into our environment. Yes, we see them online, on different social apps, all that stuff, but now being baked into parts of other native Apple applications that we use, it’s going to be really interesting to see what happens. 

The other area is that they may also introduce sponsored advertising. So not native advertising that a lot of podcasts already have and work out exclusive deals with companies, but they may also be able to introduce different advertising like pre-roll, or mid-roll, or post-roll ads, similar to YouTube, where it can be natively inserted. That might be an interesting future as well if that were to actually come true. Again, very fascinating from the perspective that it’s going to give a lot of opportunity for folks to go into this new playground, this relatively untouched playground, and begin to sponsoring advertising here. Done well and with the right targeting options, we’re going to see some potential growth within that ad market, and that could become a relatively huge income line for Apple. So stay tuned for details on that as it becomes available. 

The other one that I’m interested in is the Maps product. They are also talking about potentially being able to sponsor business listings within the Apple Maps. As we know, when Apple Maps first rolled out, it was awful, but I think there’s a lot of great features that they’ve enabled that in some ways make it surpass Google Maps to this point. So that could be another interesting avenue for relatively cheap money and especially those that have physical locations being able to sponsor locations to make sure they show up in listings higher seems like another easy win for Apple. 

Another area that I think may also be interesting is Apple TV. Some rumors have also suggested that Apple TV may be included in this type of advertising rollout. Not totally clear yet what that looks like, but what I’m interested in particularly is the ability to target people based on the types of content that they’re viewing on their devices. That’s where we are going to have probably the most open opportunity as advertisers to start looking at inserting advertising before you go and watch your Apple TV + shows or some other type of shows on Apple TV. That app is seemingly well used at this point, it has a high adoption rate amongst the Apple users. So it should be a no brainer to be able to target people by that method, using that app and be able to then insert advertising appropriately. 

Knowing Apple they’re probably not going to go too crazy with it because advertising, I suspect, will not become a huge percentage of their total revenue. Of course, they’re mostly a hardware company. But that said, it could absolutely become a relatively large disruptor in the advertising industry. 

So all of that said, as marketers I think we need to keep our eyes out for when this type of advertising does become available, I am convinced it will. It’s just a matter of timing when it will be rolled out, how it’ll actually look, how much it’s going to cost to do this type of advertising, et cetera. Knowing Apple, I don’t think it’s going to be super cheap. I don’t think we’re going to have ads that are pennies on the dollar to run. It’s certainly probably going to be in the dollars to tens of dollars to run, for click spend as an example or click cost, but only time will tell. 

That’s the word on the street from Apple this week. Certainly if you have any questions or want some other opinions about advertising and what you should be doing right now, especially as we are well into the pandemic and with a potentially looming recession in order, do not hesitate to reach out at [email protected] or follow us online at marketvantage.com for more insights. 

Thank you so much for tuning in. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to engage with our content. Whether you’re watching on YouTube or subscribed on our podcast apps, we appreciate you taking the time. Make sure to leave a comment down below and let us know any feedback that you have for us. We’re always watching the comments and engaging in any way that we can. So if you find this content useful, also make sure to subscribe or give it a big thumbs up. We appreciate it. Thanks so much. 


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