Six years after the launch of iAd, Apple is reportedly abandoning its ad sales business.
The iAd sales team will be shuttered, with staff offered buyouts, according to BuzzFeed News – but the platform itself isn't closing down.
Instead, iAd will shift to an automated platform where publishers can create and sell the ads themselves. This is good news for publishers, not least because they will get to keep 100 per cent of these ad revenues, but probably not for ad tech companies which currently offer programmatic buying for iAd.
iAd has never managed to take off in the same way as most of Apple's ventures. It accounted for 5.4 per cent of US mobile ad display revenues in 2015, according to eMarketer figures, bringing in a predicted $795m for the company in a year where it reported revenues of $234bn.
The news that Apple is phasing iAd out may not come as a surprise to most in the industry. In a 2014 statement about Apple's approach to user privacy, CEO Tim Cook said “one very small part of our business does serve advertisers”, referring to iAd. The implication seemed to be that this was against the grain of the rest of the business, something that was further supported by the iOS 9 Safari update which brought ad blockers to iPhone for the first time last year.