Eric Seufert summed it up on Twitter: “Quelle surprise!”
Sources tell the Financial Times that Apple plans to expand its App Store business with a new ad slot appearing in the “Suggested” apps section of the store’s search page.
This would give advertisers the opportunity to reach potential users before they actually search for something. Apple already allows advertisers to target users based on keyword searches in the App Store.
Testing is said to be finished on the new slot and Apple will reportedly launch it next week – which is also when Apple plans to start enforcing AppTrackingTransparency for iOS 14.5 devices.
Bolstering its own advertising business at the same time it’s about to roll out changes that will massively impact developers and mobile ad tech companies is … a cheeky move on Apple’s part at best.
Although the new unit isn’t a massive addition to Apple’s ad offering, it is somewhat hypocritical considering Apple’s high-profile condemnation of targeted advertising.
In the settings for iOS 14, for example, personalized advertising for Apple Advertising is enabled by default, a luxury explicitly not afforded to third-party developers and advertisers. The whole point of ATT is to require all parties to get explicit opt-in permission before collecting or sharing a user’s information.
Apple exempts itself from ATT because it doesn’t consider itself to be a third-party, of course, and is therefore able to use certain data, including user demographic info, previously downloaded apps and transaction data to target its ads.
But some regulators in Europe, including the French competition authority, are less than impressed by Apple’s seemingly self-preferential treatment of its own products. Stay tuned on that front.
For now, though, Apple is driving the bus.
This pretty much sums the sentiment circulating now around developer and mobile ad tech circles in reaction to Apple’s new ad slot:
— Sara Camden (@saracamden) April 22, 2021