In 2010 Apple launched the iAd platform to compete with Google's AdMob for a chunk of the lucrative mobile advertising market. Unfortunately for Apple, however, their Midas-like ability to turn everything they touch to gold didn't really take when it came to iAd. In the two years since its launch, the platform has struggled to catch on - perhaps in part because it is limited only to iOS devices, while AdMob is far more broadly available.
In light of iAd's struggles, Apple has taken steps over the years to make the platform more enticing. When the platform launched, the minimum cost for an iAd campaign was $1 million, with revenues generated by the platform split 60-40 in favor of the developer. In December of 2011, Apple dropped the entry level price by 60% to $400,000. Apparently that was not enough to revitalize the flagging platform, however, and in February they dropped the price again, this time to $100,000 - a mere tenth of the original price. They also increased developers' share of ad revenue to 70%, bringing Apple's customary 70-30 split from the App Store to their iAd platform.
Now Apple is at it again. They haven't dropped prices or increased developers' revenue share, though. It seems they've sent an email to developers to promote iAd as a major revenue stream for developers, who can use iAd to generate income from their free apps. The email also notes that rich media ads are now available on the iPad, bringing a more "immersive" advertising experience to Apple's popular tablet. The email itself, which was obtained today by iMore, can be read in full below:
iAd provides a significant source of additional revenue for iOS developers. Many developers with apps just like yours are already making thousands of dollars per week serving iAd rich media ads. And users have been delighted by the range of ads from major brands that offer an interactive experience while keeping them in your app.
iAd Rich Media Ads. Now Being Served to iPad.
iAd rich media ads are now being served to iPad apps on the U.S. App Store, redefining mobile advertising with rich, immersive ads that take advantage of the 9.7 inch LED-backlit display. Make the most of this growing opportunity now. Learn how you can join the iAd mobile advertising network and generate more revenue with iAd.
While it's widely known that iAd is struggling, it's not clear how badly. Though Apple has not discussed iAd's problems, the fact that they haven't talked about its successes is suggestive. Despite an initial rush of developer adoption after the platform launched in 2010, it has not been the kind of money-maker for Apple that they clearly hoped it would be.
Are you a developer? Do you use iAd? If so, what do you think of it? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments.