One of the things Steve Jobs announced in the iPhone OS 4.0 keynote was Apple’s new advertising platform, “iAds.” It’s something I have high hopes for. I think it will promote the development of more free applications.
What’s so special about iAds? For starters, clicking on one of the small banners doesn’t take you out of your application. It just opens an overlay with an HTML5-powered “mini application” from the advertiser, which you can then exit at any time.
The page displayed when you tap an advertisement is very interactive. Video and sound can be streamed to you, freebies like iPhone wallpapers can be downloaded. You can even play little HTML5 games.
Another example Jobs showed-off a few times was using the location tools to help find nearby store or movie theater locations. Imagine clicking a Pizza Hut or Dunkin Donuts ad and having it show you where to find the nearest franchise location.
The interactivity is the key feature of the platform. Instead of being an annoyance, the ads are supposed to be useful and interesting to the end user. The HTML5 framework enables advertisers to build ads that look and act like native applications, even tying in to hardware APIs.
I think Apple has found the secret to modern advertising: shake things up. Do what “traditional” ad networks are afraid to, or just unwilling, to try. If they keep to a similar ethos as Fusion Ads, only serving-up the highest quality of advertisement, and in moderate quantities, they might push the entire industry in the right direction.
A lot of people commenting online seem to be under the impression that Apple is going to be displaying their ads everywhere around the phone and making billions of dollars. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The ads will only be displayed in applications where the developer specifically enables them, and the developer will receive 60% of the revenue.
I think that Apple’s revolutionary new ad platform is going to help give the industry a kick in the right direction. The best type of ads are a win-win-win scenario: the users find them useful and interesting, the publisher makes money, and the advertisers get their word across. (Contrary to popular belief, advertising is about informing people that something exists, not tricking them into buying it.)
Anyway, watch the keynote and see for yourself.