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RAIN 4/16: New rules for iPhone developers could limit metrics collected by ad networks

Posted on: 04/16/2010


Along with announcing the coming iPhone OS 4.0 last week, Apple debuted their new ad delivery platform iAd (RAIN coverage here). Now, according to Wired, changes in Apple’s new developers’ agreement would limit the capabilities of third-party ad networks in iPhone, iPad and iPhone Touch applications. The new agreement states, “The use of third-party software in Your Application to collect and send Device Data to a third party for processing or analysis is expressly prohibited.” Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk clarifies: “This clause appears to bar competing ad networks from collecting data about how users interact with in-app ads on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, or targeting them with specific ad.”

So a third-party ad network like AdMob could embed an ad in an iPhone app, “but only if the advertiser didn’t care about who saw the ad, how long they may have looked at it, whether they interacted with it, or any of the other detailed metrics so prized by interactive marketers…the only way app developers will be able to advertise on Apple’s iPhone OS devices using more valuable ads that collect usage data will likely be to join iAd and cede 40 percent of ad revenue to Apple,” Van Buskirk writes (here). Developers also worry the changes could prevent them from collecting user data to just improve their apps. One developer, quoted by All Things Digital (here), says that, “It’s too early to tell…There’s more to understand about it, and we’re dialoguing with Apple about it, but it looks we may have to modify the way we collect and distribute information.”

How this might affect Internet radio apps is murky. Representatives from Ando Media said it appears the changes won’t affect the insertion of in-stream audio ads, as they are inserted prior to encoding the stream (outside the app, so to speak). Additionally, said CEO Robert Maccini, “We collect user data not from the application but from the stream/bandwidth provider in most cases so this should not limit our ability to collect audience data.” Other services like Pandora use Google’s AdSense to deliver display ads on the iPhone but it remains to be seen if Apple’s new rules will affect them in any way.


“National Public Radio is walking a tightrope,” writes Nicole C. Wong of Advertising Age,
alluding to the balance NPR has struck between old and new media. NPR’s dedication to new platforms and technology is clear (“There is no platform more conducive to mobile than radio,” said president-CEO Vivian Schiller, pictured left) but the trick is picking which new platforms to jump into.

Deciding to develop one of the first apps for Apple’s iPad appears to have been a good move, Ad Age reports, as one in five iPad owners have downloaded NPR’s app. Said Schiller, “The beauty of being on multiple platforms is it’s not like we’ve abandoned radio and will let it whither…We’ve got to keep innovating on those core platforms the same way we’re innovating on other platforms.” You can read the full article on NPR from Ad Age here.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced her support for the Performance Rights Act while speaking at the Recording Academy’s Grammy on the Hill advocacy event. “The rights of performers are not forgotten,” she reportedly said. “You have an army of advocates by your side — from both parties — on Capitol Hill.” The Performance Rights Act would require radio broadcasters to pay a performance royalty like Internet and satellite radio. All Access has more coverage here.


Magna projects online advertising will grow by 12.8% in 2010, making it the fastest-growing segment in their “U.S. Media Advertising Revenue Forecast.” By comparison, radio is projected to grow 0.6% in 2010. Said Magna of the growth in online ads, “Much of this growth will be due to the increasing ease with which many advertisers — especially those who are endemic to the Internet as well as small and midsized companies — can accomplish their goals through digital media.” Radio Ink has more coverage here.

Meanwhile, Borrell Associates predicts mobile marketing will grow 84% annually, increasing from $2.7 billion last year to $57 billion by 2014. Local mobile advertising will double this year from 2009, reaching $586 million and growing to $4.7 billion by 2014. Read more from Borrell’s press release here.

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