What's the deal with iAds on iPhone?

iAds is Apple's attempt to bring the emotion of television to the interactivity of online, but the Wall Street Journal says it's off to a bumpy start. Apparently, part of the reason is -- surprise, surprise -- Apple is exerting tight control over the platform (what, punch the monkey ads aren't good enough for iOS?!). Apple is also producing the ads themselves at this point and there appear to be longer than expected delays getting them up and running even after they've been signed off on.

That has made the creation of the mobile ads laborious, taking about eight to 10 weeks from brainstorm to completion—longer than normal for most mobile ads, executives said. The building of the actual ad, handled by Apple, in some cases is taking two weeks longer than expected, one person added.

Once online, however, they seem to be working.

A Nissan spokeswoman said its iAd "has driven exceptional results to date." The company said the rate of users tapping on the banner is five times the click-through-rate of the Nissan Leaf online campaign.

Those "people familiar with the matter" claim Apple underestimated the demands of the new business and are scrambling to learn how best to deal with the Mad Men of advertising.

Once it gets established, once Apple rolls out an HTML5 development environment for it, once we see more of it internationally (I don't think I've seen a single iAd yet, anyone else outside the US?) -- i.e. once it matures -- these problems could go either go away, or just become the constant, mild grumbling we hear with App Store growing pains.

[Wall Street Journal]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

What's the deal with iAds on iPhone?


I found out about the lead thru an iad. I was skeptical at first but I do find myself clicking on them.

I've downloaded three or four iAd supported apps for the specific purpose of seeing them, but I have yet to catch a glimpse.

The WSJ is wrong about the dev kit. I have a copy of the developer kit for creating iAds. It is available to any registered (paid) iOS developer. There were also two sessions on the subject at WWDC - I've watched them via the videos that are also available to devs.

There are only two available, I've clicked each 5 or more times. After while seeing the same ads over and over gets irritating.

So Apple has a thing or two to learn from Google, if they only learned from their mistakes every once in a while. As Webvex commmented, I don't care if I never see an iAd in my life, apples idea of the Web's Ad world redemption is ridiculous.

God I love jailbreaking even more... You can disable the "iads" nothing is worse (in my eyes) than paying near $200 per month (3 iPhones) and having "iAds" pop the fak up all over!

@ John,
Great idea. Disable adds so the very people that spent their time developing those apps your using do not get rewarded for their time and hard work...

Many apps use iAd but I only ever see the same two. One for the Nissan Leaf and one for Dove body wash. They need some more variety. I clicked on them once just to see, they are much nicer than the typical iPhone banner ad but I normally ignore any ad. In banner form these are just nicer to look at.

"Disable adds so the very people that spent their time developing those apps your using do not get rewarded for their time and hard work…"
So, using this logic, I should not get up and get a sandwich and beer during the advertisements on TV or record shows on my DVR and skip through the ads as this would mean the people who worked hard to produce the shows would not be compensated. Bah and humbug.
Someone can choose an ad supported business model if they wish, its a free country. I don't have to watch the ads and not watching is neither illegal or immoral, its a free country. Using technical means to avoid seeing ads is no different than closing my eyes when they pop up.
I don't have a right to the content (they can serve it up or not), but the fact that it has been released using an ad based revenue model does not obligate me to look at the ads.
Whenever I see my first iAd, will be too soon.

You're TV ad analogy is way of the mark. The TV companies have already been paid to show the ad, it makes no difference if you watch them or not.
However the app developer does not charge for the app and gets his money from ad click throughs.
People like you will drive app developers to stop writing free ad supported apps and they'll all have to be paid for...

Ummm, no. The TV companies have been paid to show that one ad, but it makes all the difference if you watch them or not, even at the periphery. Companies buy ads purely based on those ads' ability to sell their products. If you do not watch the ads, those ads will not help companies move any more product, and they will stop buying the TV time. Lower ad revenues for the TV station translates to lower production budgets for TV programming, which does in fact put people out of work. There is a reason that shorter seasons and reality TV has swamped networks, and decent scripted fare is more and more on pay premium channels. It is simple cost containment.
Your point is well taken that skipping iAds will hurt developers that go purely on an ad-supported model, but so is sholloman's -- he is under no obligation to sit on the couch during commercials, nor is he obligated to watch an iAd. It definitely sucks for those developers (TV or iOS) whose entire business model is based on that attention, but that is the first rule of business -- you have to find some way to serve your customers; they do not have to serve you.

Five times more clicks is impressive but need to factor in
Novelty factor
Conversion of click to other action, namely a sale or next step in process
Also, I doubt any of the initial advertisers would ever say it was a terrible waste of money...

And if the version you have is the only version, either put up with it, or learn how to write the developer and ask them to handle this.

Can someone tell me if it's still possible to jailbreak iPhone 4 running 4.0.2?! I know we can't with the jailbreakme website but want to know if there's another way.

I've seen them and I do click them opposed to google ads or others because I can trust that they won't suddenly open up safari, ripping me out of the app.

Would it not be cheaper for Apple to farm iAd creation out to expert ad creaters instead of trying to do it themselves. Sometimes I think Apple is out of touch with the consumer, and what we want, or need in a product. They are getting there, but at times seem way behind the curve. iAd could really be a beneficial thing if done right for both sides.

Who the f*uck are you calling a retard?
You'll be the aame person complaining that theirs no "free" apps anymore becasue developers weren't getting any revenue from click thru.
You do realise they get paid from you clicking the add, not buying the product don't you, you f*ucking imbecile.
I'm convinced the average mental age of the iPhone user is in decline with comments like yours...

What though is bizarre is the claim that Bobbi had no sense of her mother's fame/iconic status until she had passed away, which perhaps says more about how she was exposed to her mother in a state of redress, vulnerability that so few of us ever got to see.