Apple Is Considering a Controversial Feature that Could Upend This $11 Billion Industry


It’s hard to call Apple an underdog. It’s the world’s most valuable company, not to mention the most profitable. When it comes to Maps, however, Apple lags far behind Google

To be fair, Apple Maps has come a long way from the days when it would give you directions to turn down roads that don’t exist. Back then, even Apple admitted it was so bad that it apologized and suggested users choose an alternative

Over the past few years, Apple has worked hard to turn Maps into a worthy competitor, with features like “Look Around,” which gives you a street-level view of different cities, similar to Google’s Street View. Apple has also added features like transit information with real-time departure and arrival updates, as well as augmented reality turn-by-turn directions. Still, Google–along with Waze, which it also owns–controls more than 80 percent of the market.

To be honest, I prefer Apple Maps over Google’s version, most of the time. One of the biggest reasons has always been that Apple Maps don’t have any ads. That might soon change. 

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple has plans to triple its advertising business. A big part of that plan is to expand its ads beyond those apps into places like Maps.

That makes sense, advertising in Google Maps is expected to bring in $11 billion in revenue by next year (the company doesn’t break it out specifically). It is the maps advertising industry. Sure, that isn’t iPhone sales numbers, but it is a lot of money, and Apple–I’m sure–wouldn’t mind taking a chunk of it. 

That’s making a lot of people mad, mostly for two reasons. The first is that people generally think of advertising as a way to subsidize a product. The thing is, Apple makes premium products that it sells at premium prices. It also prides itself on creating a premium experience for its users. There’s no way to stick ads in an app and make it feel premium–especially not the way Apple has done it so far

The other reason the move is controversial is Apple’s move to limit tracking on the iPhone. The company claims this is in the name of privacy, but it also has the effect of cutting off the flow of data for digital advertising platforms like Facebook by requiring them to ask permission before tracking users’ activity across apps and websites.

If Apple sells the ads, however, it would likely consider that first-party data, which wouldn’t be subject to the same restrictions as third-party developers like Facebook or Google. Even if the company is doing the right thing for the right reason, it certainly looks convenient that Apple’s changes are hurting Facebook’s advertising business at the same time it has plans to build its own.

I do think it’s worth mentioning that–of any product you might put an ad in–maps is a logical place. Even more importantly, if you’re running a small business, the ability to put your restaurant or shop or salon in front of people who are looking for that exact thing is huge.

It’s also noteworthy that Apple’s history of advertising products is bad. At one point, developers were able to sell ads within their apps, with Apple managing the process. It was a flop. Now, Apple’s advertising is mostly confined to the App Store–where developers can purchase search ads–and the News and Stocks apps. The latter two are particularly bad if, for no other reason than the ads are ugly.

The App Store, however, is the cautionary tale that people point to when they object to Apple expanding its ad business. Right now, developers can buy ads next to search terms. That sounds great, except it often means that an app doesn’t appear as the top result, even if you search for it by name. Any competitor can simply buy an ad and show up above the app you’re actually looking for, effectively forcing developers to buy ads to promote their app to people who are already searching for it. 

That’s an entirely valid point, which Apple should be trying to fix, regardless of its growing advertising ambitions. On the other hand, if Apple can figure out a way to incorporate ads into Maps, it doesn’t have to be terrible. It could put even pressure on Google to make its own advertising products better–something that would be welcome in a world where it seems that every Google Search is just an excuse to show users an increasing number of ads.

If Apple is serious about growing this part of its business, it’s going to have to get better or advertisers will simply spend their money elsewhere–like Google Maps. On the other hand, if it does it right, it could upend an entire industry.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Source link


Top Reparations Scholar Dr. Sandy Darity Pleads With Nina Turner And Democrats To Stop Faulty Debt Cancellation Math On Wealth Gap

Previous article

This College Basketball Player Made $500,000 In One Week

Next article


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *