Senior Analyst at Berstein, Toni Sacconaghi, released a note today predicting that Apple’s advertising business will be worth billions by 2020. Similar to Amazon, Apple is incrementally focusing on expanding adverting opportunities, especially within the App Store.
Obviously, advertising is a very attractive business because it has 80 percent gross margins. If you think about Amazon, the conversation around Amazon has increasingly moved towards advertising which is now a four to five billion dollar business, very high margins. That’s all just happened in the last two years and now we’re starting to see Apple do very analogous things to what Amazon does.
Apple’s Ad Business is at $1 Billion Today With Big Potential
Apple’s principal advertising foray today is in the App Store when you search for an app, ads pop up based on what you search for. This is very analogous to what Amazon is doing with Amazon sponsored product ads where an ad will pop up when you search for an item. We think this business today is maybe a $500 million to $1 billion dollars, but it’s only in 13 countries.
Apple Ads Are Not in China Yet
They’ve just actually rolled it out to six more, that’s including six recently rolled out to. It’s not in China yet. We’re not seeing very high ad load, so you only get one ad when you do a search, whereas on Google or Amazon you might get four or five. The potential for this business to really inflect is significant and again it’s a very high margin business.
Apple Has Big Potential for Increased Ad Load
If you go to Amazon or Google you literally have to scroll down an entire page before you get non-advertised based hits and Apple today is only one, so it’s certainly possible that you could do more ads. Moreover, what Apple doesn’t do is once you’ve once you’ve done your search and you go to the next page there’s no advertising and that also occurs at Amazon and Google.
There certainly may not be the potential for the same ad load going forward but Apple’s is so low relative to what we’re seeing elsewhere that we think there’s a potential for increased ad load.
Apple’s Privacy Stance is a Limitation in Its Efforts to Advertise
I think Apple’s privacy stance has really been a limitation in its efforts to advertise. Obviously, targeted advertising is worth much much more than general advertising, so Apple will continue to try and do both while preserving privacy. The ads are really based on very limited data. They’re based on whether you’re on an iPhone or an iPad, they’re based on your geographic location, age, and gender, and that’s it.