March 20, 2014 E3

Coming Soon To An Apple Device Near You: Full-Screen Video iAds

Apple is planning to join the auto-play bandwagon in 2014 with the release of video iAds.  According to a leak from within Apple, the tech giant will begin rolling out the full-screen ads to iPhone and iPad apps sometime this year.

Users currently have to click a static banner to play a brand’s video advertisement within an application. The new feature will automatically play the ads when users are in a transition.  They will not interrupt an action, but will play when a user clicks away from an article, or completes a level of a mobile game.  Apple fans may balk at this decision, but the move could be a boom for advertisers. And it is important to note that Apple is merely a facilitator in this action. It will be up to the individual app developer to decide whether or not to include auto-play video iAds.

Apple’s AdExchange Network

The move comes on the heels of Apple’s AdExchange rollout. According to Ad Week, this will be a real-time bidding exchange that will automate the sales of in-app ads. Since iTunes Radio was released, Ad Week reports that there has been a huge push to fill ad space within the platform, and to increase overall in-app advertising revenue. At this time, it’s not certain whether the ad exchange will be limited to mobile apps, or if it will encompass all devices (such as Apple TV).

Auto-play video iAds may signal Apple’s intent on reviving its slumping iAds program. It was released in 2010 with great fanfare, but it has never quite taken off. Initially, Apple was asking $1 million for a brand’s enrollment in the program, but since then, the buy-in has dropped to $100,000.

Apple does not report ad revenue, and though they are a big-gun in the hardware marketplace, they are still the new kid on the block when it comes to mobile advertising. According to EMarketer, Apple will likely only capture 3% of mobile ad revenue in the US this year, compared to 49% by Google and Facebook’s 15% market share.

Video iAds: Based on Success of Facebook Video Ads?

Apple’s decision to press forward with auto-play video iAds may be based, at least partially, on the success (so far) of Facebook’s auto-play advertisements. The rollout of these ads has been very slow, and very calculated.  While it is still unclear how a mass-rollout will affect revenue for Facebook, all signs are pointing to success. There was an initial dustup with users, but Facebook wisely took precautions not to alienate their audience. Mobile ads don’t play sound unless the user chooses to hear it, and when the user scrolls away from the ad, it stops playing, to avoid sucking up mobile data.

Brands are keeping a close eye on the Facebook test, and its outcome will likely change the way advertisers approach their video advertising campaigns. However, video ads created for a social platform like Facebook, won’t necessarily be relevant to users of specific mobile apps and games. Video advertisers will have to have a firm grasp on the audience they will be delivering their content to, and tailor their message accordingly. Social ads should not feel like ads, but should be more about connecting with the viewer. In-app ads may be tailored a little differently, perhaps more along the lines of similar interruption-based ads like television commercials.

What do you think of the auto-play video iAds rumors? Do you think that auto-play is an effective form of delivering video ads? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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