Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

AdAge: Apple to Begin Allowing Third-Party Ads in Apple News

Garett Sloane, AdAge:

At the moment, Apple maintains tight control over ad delivery in its popular news app, and publishers say they are not generating much revenue there.

Publishers can set up ad campaigns to run in their Apple News articles, with all types of ad formats including standard banner ads and videos. “It just takes a lot of additional effort,” said one top publishing executive, speaking on condition of anonymity.

To fix that and keep media partners happy, Apple plans to allow publishers to use the ad tech they already employ on their sites, such as Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers, to deliver ads into Apple News.

The entire reason I — and others — use Apple News is because it sucks a lot less to read articles in there than it does on the web.

John Gruber:

Publishers need to find ways to do ads that don’t interrupt or delay the reading experience. I don’t know why this is so hard for them to understand.

The short answer is that the data tells them otherwise. Enough readers apparently tolerate really crappy ads that move text all over the place to play a thirty second video ad for Frosted Flakes — or, at least, they’re just effective enough to pay for the users who click away and those that run ad blockers.

As long as publishers don’t control their own ads, bad ads will persist. But building the infrastructure for an online advertising department is expensive, especially when compared to copying and pasting one of Google’s JavaScript snippets, and only very major publications can even attempt to do so — the Economist being one example.

Christina Warren:

re: Apple News ad changes, I have to think (and have it on good authority) that without those changes, publishers will leave

So yes, it “junks” up the news experience, but publishers (and I mean big ones) are threatening to leave otherwise.

Apple News is entirely dependent on retaining big publishers; without them, the app collapses. Adding third-party advertising support ought to make publishers happy, but it’s probably going to suck for readers. So what can Apple do?

Sloane:

There also are plans to enable micropayment options so people can access articles for cents at a time, according to another Apple publishing partner.

That’s one way, but I’m not convinced it will work. If people are given the option of paying a single cent upfront for every article they read, I doubt they’ll take that option when an apparently free version exists on the web — even though it might ultimately cost them twenty or thirty times as much.