Apple's ad business borrows a page from Facebook
On Thursday, Apple Search Ads updated its partner page to include Bidalgo as its second campaign management partner. Apple Search Ads appear at the very top of a user's app search results; someone who searches for the Uber app, for example, might see an ad for the Lyft app.
Companies such as Bidalgo assist advertisers in managing search ad campaigns through Apple's app store. Placing Bidalgo on its partner page is similar to receiving a stamp of approval from Apple, essentially saying it's a qualified and knowledgeable vendor for buying search ads through automation.
The news is significant as Apple previously only had mobile measurement partners on its page, which provide tools to measure, analyze and optimize app install campaigns. Coupling mobile measurement partners with campaign management partners is a spitting image of Facebook's own program, Facebook Marketing Partners, more commonly known as FMP. The move is an example of how Apple is trying to diversify its sources of revenue in the face of maturing iPhone sales.
"Apple Search Ads have been extremely popular for mobile app publishers with a complete absence of fraud," says John Koetsier, VP of insights at Singular, a mobile measurement company. "To appeal to brands, however, Apple needed to add official campaign management and measurement partners. That just delivers more ability for brands to scale their campaigns with agencies."
Koetsier adds that the recent inclusion of campaign management partners to Apple's partner page is "both a sign of increased maturity in Apple Search Ads as well as an indicator that Apple Search Ads is increasingly important to Apple."
In total, Apple has four mobile measurement partners (Branch, Kochava, Adjust, Appsflyer) and two campaign management partners (Bidalgo and Kenshoo).
Facebook and Google both outrank Apple for return on ad spend for app installs, according to Singular's ROI Index, and marketers hoping to come across the same rich targeting found at Google and Facebook will be hard pressed to find similar options when advertising through Apple. That is because Apple has a reputation for guarding consumer privacy which can limit ad targeting.
"Advertisers can, however, target by contextual factors such as location or time of day, keywords used in searches, as well as types of apps previously installed, or in-app purchases previously made," Koetsier says. "Apple uses differential privacy, though, so brands are targeting groups, not individuals"