Apple app transparency changes bring in the ad bucks... for Apple

By striking down Google and Facebook, the iMaker's transformation is complete

Although Apple's sales pitch for the idea was protecting users' privacy, it appears the company's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) initiative has been kind to its wallet as well, pushing it to the top of the mobile app advertising market in the past year.

That's the major finding from Appsumer's look at the state of mobile advertising a year on from the widespread adoption of Apple ATT.

It also confirms fears put forward by Facebook when Apple made the move requiring apps to explicitly ask users for permission to track them. As a reminder, by last year November, Zuckerberg's company had already seen a "$10bn" portion of social network revenues fall away.

And now, "Apple Search Ads (or ASA, which allows advertisers to promote apps in Apple's App Store), [has] joined the duopoly of Meta and Google at the top table of advertiser adoption," Appsumer's Simon Whittick wrote in a blog post about the report. 

Per Appsumer, Google and Apple both had 94.8 percent channel adoption among major app store advertisers (defined as spending more than $100k/month on paid media) using their service in Q2 2022, an increase for Apple, but a drop for Google compared to the same period in 2021. 

Facebook, meanwhile, saw its percentage of channel adoption by major advertisers fluctuate over the course of the past year, ultimately falling more than 10 percentage points in the first half of 2022, where it now sits with just 82.8 percent adoption – more than 10 percent below Google and Apple. 

What's striking here, Whittick said, is that ASA typically had around 75 percent channel adoption prior to ATT. With it, Apple "has now very much joined Facebook and Google."

Let the ads flow through you

App Search Ads only display inside Apple's App store, but ATT made it tricky for advertisers to target Apple users otherwise because shortly after its rollout some 85 percent of iOS users had chosen not to allow apps to track them. 

With iPhones reportedly overtaking Android devices in terms of US market share, that's a lot of unreachable customers who may be willing to spend more money – not a group advertisers want to miss. 

That may be why Apple is rumored to be doubling the size of its ads team, which the Financial Times said is still far smaller than Google or Facebook's advertising divisions in terms of revenue, with both companies making hundreds of billions in ad revenues last year, compared to Apple's $4 billion

That gives Apple a lot of room to grow, which the company seems to have been well prepared for. Unfortunately, that means ATT, which seemed like a consumer-focused way to improve user privacy, now appears to have actually been the opening move in Apple's latest revenue gambit. ®

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