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Apple encourages developers to advertise apps across iAd

Apple has launched a new iAd for Developers Program, letting members of the iPhone developer community advertise their own applications to millions of users across the iAd Network.

Apple claims to be offering developers two key things: promotion of their applications via mobile ads and increased revenue by opening up their in-application inventory to iAd advertisers. The launch of the iAd for Developers Program is designed to encourage developers to advertise across iAd, in addition to consumer brands.

?Apple wants developers to realize ?Now I can promote my own ads via the iAd Network,? said Neil Strother, Kirkland, WA-based practice director at ABI Research.

?Clearly developers are always looking for ways they can get the word out about their applications, and if a developer has been struggling to promote their app, this could give them another way to do so by leveraging iAd,? he said. ?Cross-promotion can be effective.

?If I have an app and you have an app, we can promote each other?s app?now multiply that by all the apps in the iAd Network.?

You down with iDP?
The iAd Network lets developers of free applications earn money from the click-throughs on ads that are running in their applications.

Members of the iAd for Developers Program (iDP) who sign up for the iAd Network can monitor their key metrics and revenue earned from ads that are served from within their applications.

"By giving app developers the chance to take part, it will get more ads into the iAd system, thus improving the fill rate," Mr. Strother said.

"Pricing will be key to how well this works for developers," he said. "If it?s affordable and they make a profit, it could be a great benefit to both the developers and Apple, of course."

Apple released the following statement via a Web portal for application developers:

The iAd advertising platform provides developers new opportunities to generate revenue and promote their apps.

With iAd rich media ads, advertisers can put their brand into the hands of consumers, while developers receive 60 percent of the advertising revenue.

And now we are adding a second great choice for developers?iAd for Developers.

The new iAd for Developers program is a great way for developers to advertise their own apps to millions of users across the iAd Network.

You can now purchase iAd advertising to promote your app to millions of users across the iAd Network.

With iAd for Developers, users can download apps from the App Store without leaving the app they?re in.

It?s easy to get started, contact us today and learn how you can drive more downloads of your app with iAd for Developers.

Details still forthcoming
While the idea of an iAd for Developers Program is intriguing, Apple has been pretty vague on the details, which has left some developers and analysts scratching their heads.

?I see analytical tools for the developers?good stuff?but it?s not clear to me what the news is,? said Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, Boston. ?It could be that they are letting developers into the iAd network without the minimum upfront buy-in fees for creative and placement.

?It could mean there is available inventory?if this is the case and they?ll let developers have access, then it?s a win-win, as higher fill rates eventually drive rates up,? she said. ?What is being advertised is very relevant?applications for the iPhone and iPod touch.

?Hopefully, they aren?t charging too much, since everyone in the ecosystem benefits?it becomes developers paying other developers for driving awareness and sales.?

A developer's take
Mobile Marketer's Dan Butcher interviewed Scott Michaels, vice president of Atimi Software, Vancouver, an iPhone application developer. Here is what he had to say:

"This was expected by us as it makes sense Apple would want to allow app developers without the over $1 million budget commitment to participate in iAds.

"This does not open the door for the more budget-sensitive companies to participate in iAds, such as any local company.

"This is specific to app developers, which of course increases the Apple platform and the discoverability of applications.

"Apple still has no need to have an intake of poorly built or cheap non-interactive ad units within iAd.

"This is a major boon to the app developers and shops like Atimi, since the iAd platform allows for download and install directly from the ad unit, with no need to go out to the app store and provide that additional click, wait, and potentially lose the customer.

"This is still one of the biggest things that iAds does that the other ad networks will not be able to duplicate, the direct purchase mechanism."

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Marketer