Apple Targets Developers with the Roll Out of iAd Workbench

Apple recently expanded its iAd platform in an effort to make it more appealing to app publishers after this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The new version of iAd Workbench was recently released. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a tool that allows developers to promote their apps across Apple’s advertising platform. The new service provides a dashboard for developers to generate targeted banner ads for their apps, leveraging Apple’s knowledge of user behaviors to let app makers see what they will be spending and what impact they can expect an ad buy to have. Developers are currently able to try out ad buys on Apple’s network for as little as $50. 

Screenshots from Workbench show an interface where users input their ad buy budget, maximum daily spend, and cost-per-click bid, with the system then computing estimates of how many users will likely see an ad, click on it, and download it. Workbench has both automatic targeting options and manual targeting options. The manual setting allows developers to fine tune their targeting, aiming for users by their app preferences, movie preferences, and so forth. The auto setting has iAd determine the right audience for an app.

Workbench also seems to have an array of tools and analytics aimed at helping developers optimize and refine their ad campaigns. The service’s dashboard reveals performance data in the form of charts, with metrics including total impressions, taps, average cost-per-click, and total downloads. In addition to the targeting options, iAd Workbench also helps developers make their banner ads using built-in Apple-designed templates. This feature scales automatically across devices if an ad is meant to run across both the iPad and iPhone. Users are also given the option to upload their own ad content if they choose to.

The platform marks a shift for Apple’s older iAd platform, which the company has typically geared toward advertisers of goods and services. In targeting developers more specifically, Apple is leveraging its own intimate knowledge of user behaviors in the App Store, Music Store, and Bookstore, turning that into actionable data for app developers.

Though iAd recently became the first mobile platform to gain accreditation from the Media Ratings Council, a major advertising body, the platform has somewhat unperformed given the success of other Apple ventures. Ad buys on iAd started out at $1 million when Apple rolled out the service. The soft demand for the service caused Apple to cut that minimum in half months after its debut and further price reductions eventually reduced the minimum ad buy to $100,000. All the while, Apple has sought to get more developers to use iAds in their apps. In April of last year, the company increased the share of revenue developers get from 60% to 70%, which is a respectable improvement.

We’ll have to see if their efforts pay off this time around with their new focus.


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