Apple's iAd Platform Adds iTunes Radio to Programmatic Inventory

Tim Maytom

itunes radioApple is extending its iAd mobile advertising network to include its web streaming service iTunes Radio, enabling marketers to purchase ads for the service programmatically that can be targeted through phone or email identifiers.

iTunes Radio, which competes with other streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, has previously relied on advertisers buying space through Apple's small iAd sales staff, which has struggled to achieve enough scale to make iAd one of the big players in advertising, despite Apple's hardware clout.

According to Advertising Age, the changeover to programmatic will also improve targeting capabilities for ads on the iTunes Radio service, with customers phone numbers and email addresses cross-referenced anonymously against marketers' data for more precise delivery.

Apple has been attempting to expand iAd's capabilities over the past few months, introducing programmatic capabilities through a deal with Rubicon Project, adding new ad formats and improving targeting across the platform.

The platform has traditionally struggled to compete with platforms like Google and Facebook following its launch in 2010, taking only 2.6 per cent of mobile ad spend in the US in 2014 and generally viewed as slow to innovate and respond to changes compared to the larger web advertisers.

While recent moves have struck back against these preconceptions, the platform is still fighting to make itself seen as relevant to the larger mobile advertising ecosystem, and match Apple's hardware business for innovation and influence.