Apple announced that it is discontinuing its iAd Network (though as of this published date, the main website for iAd was still up and running). iAd *was* a native ad network within apps running on Apple devices, allowing advertisers to reach new consumers, and publishers to earn valuable ad dollars.
Along with this, the iAd sales team will be disbanded. In lieu of the iAd platform, Apple will be shifting to a (yet to be announced) more automated publisher focused platform. Publishers are the big winners here; for now they’ll keep 100% of the ad revenue.
Revisiting 2015 and The Year Ahead
Those paying attention in 2015 saw a continuation of the acquisitions and consolidations of major ad tech players, though at a much more tempered pace.
The long term impact of this activity is that advertisers now have fewer choices which offer arguably more complete end-to-end marketing solution encompassing the full cycle of cross channel marketing (planning / modeling / targeting-execution / measurement-attribution).
As advertisers continue to move towards building customized in-house ad tech stacks, their ability to support these built-in-house solutions with services provided in part by third party service provider solutions is diminishing. Where an advertiser used to be able to “plug and play” numerous solutions into their in-house solution, those choices are now limited.
On the flip side, for advertisers without the means nor desire to build their own solutions, this shift offers a less confusing landscape with single source providers addressing all of their advertising needs.
Agencies face a different challenge, as the growth of options and commoditization of services puts pressure on their role as gatekeepers to media execution.
None of these changes will result in a binary switch from one methodology to another. They rather point towards a continued slow evolution of the industry in the coming year, as we continue to “figure it out”.