- Apple News, the news aggregation mobile app developed by iPhone maker Apple, is working with a handful of publishers to test ad insertions served by Google's DoubleClick platform, Advertising Age reported. The media companies conducting the test weren't disclosed, but publishers such as Condé Nast, Gannett, Time, CNN and others have been in talks with Apple about changing the ad-serving technology in the news app.
- Apple News has about 50 million monthly U.S. visitors, according to ComScore, making it a significant source of traffic for media companies seeking to monetize their mobile properties. With the rollout of Apple's iOS 11 two weeks ago, Apple News looks better on the company's latest generation of phones.
- The biggest complaint from publishers concerned Apple's ad-serving technology. The company has a deal for NBC Universal to sell about half of the inventory in its news apps, and publishers can fill ad inventory in their own pages in the app.
Apple has developed many kinds of revenue channels — including device sales, Apple Music, Apple Pay, iTunes, iCloud and the App Store — but selling ad space on its devices has been much less of a priority. If anything, the company has continually updated its mobile operating system with improved ad-blocking tools and ways to protect privacy. Apple also restricts the kind of data that can be used for ad targeting. An earlier effort to develop iAd, a mobile advertising platform, failed.
The news around DoubleClick suggests Apple's subsequent efforts on the ad front are not faring much better. While the addition of DoubleClick wouldn't necessarily give media companies greater insights into the browsing behaviors of iPhone and iPad users, publishers told Advertising Age that they're seeking improvements over Apple's ad program. The Apple Advertising Platform, a successor to the company's iAd service, is burdensome and requires extra steps to serve ads in Apple News.
Apple is also facing significant competition in the mobile news space from Facebook's Instant Articles, Google's AMP and even Snapchat. Working with DoubleClick could help publishers and Apple better monetize their efforts.
Still, it's somewhat surprising that Apple would let publishers test out the ad-serving features from Google, which collects vast amounts of data on users to target them with ads across the internet. Apple's newest Safari web browser automatically resets data collected by cookies, which are a significant way to track users on digital platforms.