Apple plans new spots for ads in App Store by the end of the year

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the new iPhone 14 at an Apple event at their headquarters in Cupertino, California, September 7, 2022.

carlos barria | Reuters

Apple plans to release new ad “placements” as soon as the holiday season of this year, according to a message sent to developers on Tuesday inviting them to an online session to encourage them to buy ads.

The new ad units represent a significant expansion in Apple’s advertising inventory, which is focused on its App Store. In recent years, Apple’s advertising inventory has been limited to one unit in the Search tab on the App Store and one on the search results page.

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“With new opportunities coming to Apple Search Ads, you can promote your apps across the App Store to engage even more customers this holiday season,” according to the message, which was posted by Mobile Dev Memo founder Eric Seufert and confirmed to CNBC by a developer who received the invite.

The message to developers didn’t specify where the new ad placements will be offered, but in July, multiple Apple-specialist websites reported that Apple was planning to expand its menu with an ad unit on the Today tab, which is the front page of the App Store, and another sponsored unit on app product pages under the banner “You Might Also Like.”

An Apple representative did not respond to a request for comment.

The expansion in Apple’s inventory comes as Apple’s advertising business is under increased scrutiny.

Apple’s advertising revenue is reported as part of its services business, which also includes warranties, search engine licensing, App Store sales, and online subscription revenue, among other things. Apple reported over $68 billion in services revenue in 2021.

Bank of America analyst Wamsi Mohan estimated in July that Apple could generate $5 billion of advertising revenue from Apple Search Ads alone this year.

In 2021, Apple released App Tracking Transparency, where iPhone owners are asked before sharing a unique ID with app developers. Most iPhone owners choose not to share, preventing online advertisers from accurately tracking the performance of their ads.

Apple says it made the change because of its corporate position on user privacy.

Advertising companies including Facebook parent Meta have blasted ATT as anti-competitive and self-serving. Meta said Apple’s change could cost it $10 billion this year.

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