Apple may eventually include advertisements in more of the apps that come pre-installed on your iPhone and other Apple devices, such as Maps, Books, and Podcasts. Apple has internally tested search ads in Maps, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, which could display recommendations when you search for restaurants, stores, or other nearby businesses.
On the App Store, Apple already uses a similar advertising model, where developers can pay to have their app promoted on a search page for a specific query, such as “puzzle games” or “photo editor.” As Gurman pointed out, ads on Maps could function similarly, with businesses paying to appear at the top of search results when users enter specific search terms. Gurman believes Apple may add advertisements to its native Podcasts and Books apps as well. This could allow publishers to place ads in specific areas of each app or pay to have their content appear higher in search results. Maps, Podcasts, and Books are currently ad-free.
While Apple already has ads on the Search tab of the App Store, Gurman believes Apple will expand ads to the Today tab and app download pages, which is consistent with previous reports from 9to5Mac, Apple Insider, and MacRumors. Ads on the Today tab will appear as larger cards with the word “Ad” beneath the app’s name, while ads on individual app pages will appear highlighted in blue in the “You Might Also Like” section, according to 9to5Google.
Gurman also mentions the possibility of advertising on Apple TV Plus, speculating that the company may create a lower-priced ad-supported tier, as Netflix and Disney Plus plan to do by the end of this year. Apple TV Plus currently only offers a $4.99/month ad-free subscription plan (although it has started showing ads during its Friday Night Baseball livestreams). Apple began displaying ads on the App Store in 2016, and it also does so on its Stocks and News apps. In compliance with its own App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy, which has cost social platforms billions of dollars, the company began asking users in September whether they want to enable the Personalized Ads that appear on these apps.
ATT allows users to disable the tracking tools that advertisers use to display targeted ads. It may have contributed to the overall growth of Apple’s advertising sector by forcing businesses to rethink their advertising strategies. According to research firm Omdia data obtained by Insider, Apple’s advertising business will grow 238 percent to $3.7 billion in 2021.
Apple’s decision to add more ad slots to its App Store — and possibly Maps, Podcasts, and Books — could indicate that the company is looking to expand its advertising business even further. Insider reported in May that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, is planning to restructure Apple’s services business to focus more on streaming and advertising. Apple’s services division, which includes advertising and various subscriptions, increased revenue by 12% last quarter.