iAd Gains Cross-Device Retargeting Capabilities, Say Sources


Apple is looking at new solutions for growing iAd, the advertising platform that failed to meet the high expectations Steve Jobs set at launch in 2010. Back then, Jobs outlined the company’s bold ambition to capture 50% of the mobile ad market. Well, the latest reports say iAd captured only 2.5% of mobile ad revenue booked in the US last year.

Now, Apple is looking to change that: a report from Digiday and confirmed by Business Insider’s sources suggests iAd’s new frontier is cross-device targeting. That’s right in time for the holiday season, although the company is a bit late to the game: Facebook and Google already do that.

What cross-device targeting means is that if a user was looking at an item on the iPad, but didn’t buy it, the same retailer can “retarget” the same user with an ad showing an image of the same item, options to buy, or directions to the store when he/she picks up the iPhone.

But retargeting isn’t just limited to such actions: it has a great potential for app developers in general, as well: it can help app discovery, and could also help them remind people using/opening the app they have downloaded.

As James Chandler, global mobile director at media agency Mindshare, puts it: “Apple is still going to sell millions of high-end devices whether or not iAd/iTunes Radio works, so I think they can take their time of getting it right, focusing on quality and the experience for the user.

“I think our premium and luxury brands will value this over the idea of stalking and spamming customers across the internet and in-app, reminding them to pay for something they left in their basket.”

iAd has great potential given that Apple users spend 87% of their time on connected devices within apps, but it is off to a slow start. It will take some time for the company to get iAd right; now, the only question is whether the market will wait that long.

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