Enlarge / Apple’s HQ, as seen in Apple Maps.
Apple is looking into significantly ramping up its ads business, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, and has already internally explored adding ads to the iPhone’s Maps app, with other potential expansions also on the horizon.
The shift may be driven in part by a recent change within the company’s reporting structure: Gurman wrote in his email newsletter this week that Apple advertising VP Todd Teresi began reporting directly to Apple services head Eddie Cue a few months back. He also wrote that Teresi plans to increase Apple’s advertising revenue from $4 billion annually to billions in the double digits.
As Gurman notes, advertising is already a part of Apple’s strategy, but it’s limited in scope and to certain places. The most traditional advertisements you’ll see in an Apple-made app are the ones in the Stocks and News apps. There, you’ll see display ads just like those you see on news websites—both outside of stories and inside of them.
Apple also runs a robust ad business within its App Store, allowing developers to pay for prime positions in search results lists. And the company recently ventured into ads within its Apple TV service, but only within Friday Night Baseball.
But there will be new frontiers for Apple’s ads, according to Gurman. For example, in the App Store, ads will expand beyond search results to the curated Today homepage and to individual app listing pages.
And Apple may also bring advertisements to the Podcasts and Books apps, or even expand TV ads beyond sports content with new subscription tiers à la Hulu or Disney+.
Apple has been in the ads business for a long time, in one way or another, but not all of its initiatives in this area have been successful. Back in 2010, Apple introduced iAd, a network that third-party app developers could tap into to run ads within their own applications. Apple discontinued iAd in 2016, and other companies’ ad networks became the go-tos for iPhone and iPad app developers.
More recently, Apple threw a wrench in many of those ad networks’ plans with the introduction of the App Tracking Transparency policy, which required all third-party apps to ask for users’ permission before using certain tracking methods that collected and cross-referenced those users’ data across multiple apps.
Apple’s own apps do not use those specific tracking methods, and so they do not have to display the same permission prompts.
Neither Apple nor the Bloomberg newsletter said whether Apple plans to change course on that as it again expands its own offerings.