Friday, April 09, 2010
iDoit with iAd. (not me personally of course)
This image on the right linked from MobileBeat article provides a more balanced view of the story than my conjecture and opinionated blast below.
Apple's mobile strategy brilliantly accomplishes what so many startups try to do - build a massive, loyal, captive market before fully monetizing every single little thing that market does - iAd confirms that this strategy remains a pretty brilliant move!
The fact that most people don't get why iAd is so brilliant makes it even more brilliant - Apple needed to get past the top of the adoption curve, move beyond fanboys into the mainstream, in fact turn a phone into a fashion accessory and status symbol (again), without an ad play in the public eye that would massively reduce credibility of the platform in the early days.
Once they had the platform at critical mass, and had locked down all the inroads, then they were able to release an at-scale ad play to further monetize the distribution. And they can now make a % of every click, impression or scene change in their own proprietary version of rich media.
This also provides another clear reason (more clear than most of the B$ and raving lunacy that's out there) why they did not want Flash on the platform - motivated app developers could have easily served up their own in-context, targeted or even DoubleClick and Yahoo! served ads over video, in-game, or within web-based RIA applications without ever clicking the Apple clock. The only players that really matter who are targeting the Apple platform today are getting bought, or soon will...
The good news is that this move will increase the credibility and overall percent spend allocated to mobile, but there will be some work to do since big advertisers/agencies will continue to favor existing formats and ad serving, auditing and reporting technology to deliver integrated campaigns (cross-media) for some time.
Apple knows this and will likely posit for the high-end of the CPM/CPA target - but in a frequently sold-out market the more floor there is (bottom pricing/wide avail) the more value they can bring as the user base becomes more addressable, and if they get their targeting (geo, gender, income, interest, behavior, spend pattern) sorted out for a captive audience then they will start to dominate (at least on their own platform).
Basically, if iPhone came with an ad platform story three years ago everyone would have cried foul. And if they had allowed other platforms in they would give up a portion of dollars beyond the platform and app that they knew (and so did everyone pretty much) would be forthcoming.
I love Apple, don't get me wrong - I love any brand that has a great user experience and works that hard to maintain it across platforms but I see cracks in the bauble that are somewhat worse and somehow seem even more dangerous than the roadscars on my MacBook Pro (but that's another story).