Recognizing that developers need to monetize their apps (particularly the freebies) with ads, Jobs told the crowd gathered at Apple’s iPhone 4.0 developer preview that the quality currently available mobile advertising “sucks.” He suggested that advertisers are approaching mobile the same way as online — too focused on search.
And browsing and searching takes a backseat in the mobile arena; as I heard at the Think Mobile conference hosted by MediaBistro, mobile marketing is all about apps, apps, apps (something I’ve been writing about for a while). Jobs noted that the average iPhone user spends 30 minutes a day in apps.
So imagine he or she is served one ad every three minutes — that’s 10 impressions per day per user and more than 1 billion impressions daily for the iPhone community.
Along with the iPhone 4.0 operating system, which will not appear till summer but was released for developers, was the unveiling of “iAd” mobile ad platform focused on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch that Jobs promised will make mobile advertising “engaging and emotive.”
With the addition of multitasking to the OS to enable swift app switching, iAds, which Apple will sell and serve, will keep users in their apps. Judging by the preview apps for Disney and Nike, these ads are basically micro-branded apps that include games, video and other interactive features.
In other words, iAds are going to be apps within apps; they’ll even offer the power to purchase apps and more, and you’ll be able to return to your regular app whenever you choose.
Jobs promised that iAds will be better for monetizing apps for developers; Apple will offer a 60/40 split, with the developer getting the larger share. In addition, iAds pooh-pooh Flash for HTML5.
However, beyond some cools demos and exposition, Jobs offered very little specifics: price model and metrics, something most marketers are highly concerned with, were skipped over.
Also, at the Think Mobile conference panelist after panelist suggested ignoring other mobile platforms at your own peril. If you’re just focusing on one platform, Handmark CEO Lance Reddick quipped, you might as well ask, “Which 80% of the market do I want to ignore?”
Sure iPhone users are the most engaged mobile, but more people are pumping away on their BlackBerrys. (Granted we’ll have to see how this changes over the summer when Sprint and Verizon get their own iPhones.) The spread of Google’s Android OS seems unstoppable as its mobile share keeps increasing.
And yeah, everyone wants an iPad now, but when the HP Slate comes out with a Windows operating system at a fraction of the price — followed by several other similar devices that our less expensive than an iPad — don’t you think that interest is going to wane?
Apple excels in creating closed-off systems, systems that work very well, but a closed-off system for advertising? No matter how cool the demonstrations may look, a network limited to one platform is kinda unappealing.