On the positive side, the user experience with the iAd could be truly unparalleled in mobile advertising. Downloads directly from the ad units, increased consumer usability and entertainment, and very smart targeting. And since Apple controls the distribution method itself through iTunes (and the app store), they can provide true conversion tracking. That is, present an ad unit (impressions), consumer presses on it (clicks/click-through rate), downloads a new app (conversion), and Apple can report all the way through the process. This can dramatically improve how mobile advertising works. (Also, imagine this for the huge catalog of music, movies, TV shows, etc. in the iTunes catalog.)
The downside is based in change. Existing ad units will need to be re-worked, with new creative necessary as well. While Apple offers a highly simplified pricing structure, it comes with a premium. Even the selection of target channels is disappearing, being replaced with supposedly smarter optimization. Clients will have to become comfortable with the approach that Apple really is controlling the whole show.
And Apple will “brand” every ad with its own moniker.
The true surprise here is the limited amount of run-up leading to the switchover. No new IOs are being accepted for the Quattro network, even for its last month of operation. That means that brands and agencies with existing media plans—or live campaigns—will have to change mid-stream.
In the short-term, Google-AdMob, Millennial and JumpTap may pick up a good amount of revenue from existing and new clients who fear the changes. Apple is banking on the hype curve around the iAd, and the success of its other forays with bold moves. We will see how it plays out.
September is going to be a very interesting month, that is for sure.