Apple has expanded its advertising acreage on its App Store mere days after introducing an iOS 14.5 update that severely curtails tracking via iPhone.The additional ad space allows app developers to advertise on the App Store search tab, rather than search results alone as before.
What does the Apple app store update mean?
Apple is positioning the update as a boon for developers wishing to ‘reach customers before they search’ by furnishing them with a new variety of advertising slot.
Until now developers have been limited to advertising within search results alone, shutting out avenues of self-promotion until a customer takes the initiative to initiate a search.
Now a dedicated place in the App Store search tab will offer a golden opportunity for advertisers to influence future queries.
In practice, this means when a customer clicks the search tab they will be presented with a list of apps under ‘discover’ and ‘suggested’ as before, but also a third slot where advertisers can share their campaigns.
Displayed advertising will be shown per Apple’s metrics rather than keywords, with individuals reserving the right to opt out of targeted ads in the App Store by adjusting their privacy settings.
Why it matters
Apple’s App Store advertising push follows the introduction of the iOS 14.5 operating system last week, the bedrock of which is default support for Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) technology.
The effect this will have on ad measurement and targeting cannot be underestimated, with analysts foreseeing ‘dramatic differences’ as the balance of power between advertisers and consumers is recalibrated.
With ATT in place, any app downloaded from the App Store must first seek express consent from individual users to share their Identifier for Advertisers data with third parties, a significant tightening of the rules from prior opt-outs.
Explaining how the timing of both announcements is more than a coincidence, Enders Analysis senior media analyst Jamie MacEwan told the BBC that the “the timing makes sense”.
MacEwan said: “Apple probably anticipates increased demand for exposure on the App Store. That’s because Apple's iOS privacy changes have made other options less attractive.”
Having propelled privacy to the top of the tech agenda, he notes: “Apple will have to make sure its execution on consent and privacy is impeccable.”
Apple’s privacy crusade is bad news for Facebook, which risks having its entire business model upended as it loses the ability to track individuals and target advertising, potentially spelling the end for a run of record revenues.