- Apple will support third-party measurement services like comScore and Moat as part of its ad deal with NBCUniversal, according to a report from AdExchanger. Additional measurement partners could also be added.
- Apple signed a deal with NBCUniversal in late 2016 for the latter to sell ad inventory in the Apple News app. Publishers with content on the app are selling their own ads, with NBCUniversal handling the rest of the inventory.
- The NBCUniversal deal will support rich media services like Kargo and Celtra, with additional third-party ad partners also expected, per AdExchanger.
Advertising sales have been on the back burner for Apple since it shut down iAd in early 2016. However, the NBCUniversal deal, as well as last fall’s announcement regarding the launch of search ads in the App Store, suggest Apple hasn’t given up on ad sales completely.
The ad push for the News app, which comes preinstalled on mobile devices but has struggled to gain users, arrives at a time when the app appears to be gaining some sway and becoming a significant traffic driver for some publishers.
It is not surprising that Apple, which has in the past wielded tight control over its ecosystem, is willing to crack open the door to third-party measurement through its partnership with NBCUniversal considering the surge in concern about the lack of clarity around digital ads in the year-plus since Apple exited mobile advertising.
The issue gained momentum as Facebook and others revealed multiple instances when their own internal metrics were wrong. Things took a dramatic turn in January when P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard issued an ultimatum to its digital advertising partners, demanding that they, in part, get independent accreditation in place before the end of the year or the world’s largest advertiser would take its business elsewhere.
As Facebook and a slew of other platforms have come in line over the past couple of months with plans for greater outside oversight of their data and metrics, it makes sense that Apple would follow suit.
But less is at stake for Apple than some of its competitors. Apple is not as dependent on the revenue from advertising sales as Google or Facebook because the company makes most of its revenue from iPhone sales. Still, with smartphone sales stagnating, the company could be eyeing advertising as one potential way of keeping the coffers full. If these preliminary efforts with the News app and the Store go well, Apple may wade deeper into ad sales.