Apple’s Ad Business Is Booming

Patrick McGee, Financial Times:

Branch, which measures the effectiveness of mobile marketing, said Apple’s in-house business is now responsible for 58 per cent of all iPhone app downloads that result from clicking on an advert. A year ago, its share was 17 per cent.

“It’s like Apple Search Ads has gone from playing in the minor leagues to winning the World Series in the span of half a year,” said Alex Bauer, head of product marketing at Branch.

I truly believe Apple had good intentions with App Tracking Transparency, and I fully buy its premise. But it is shaping up to be a letdown on both sides of advertising. Apps are not respecting users’ choices and tracking them anyway, while Apple is — at the very least — appearing to behave anticompetitively by restricting what is available to third-party advertisers while expanding its own ads business. Apple could eliminate this conflict of interest and antitrust bait by getting rid of App Store ads, but the growth rate estimated in this Times article makes me think those ads are here to stay. That is, at least, until policymakers rightly intervene.