Apple struggling in iAd sales due to strict privacy policies

logo-iadApple is struggling to attract advertisers its iAd network due to its more restrictive privacy policies that limit the amount of customer information shared with advertisers, says a report in AdAge. Apple trails competitors like Google and Facebook, which are more permissive with they data they share.

One person familiar with the matter describes Apple as “the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head” because it has a treasure trove of valuable personal data that it is not willing to share.

Apple knows names and addresses, geographic locations and app and music-purchase histories, and can show ad buyers that a group with specific characteristics also likes certain types of apps or music. However, its user tracking and ad targeting are not cookie-based, meaning agencies can’t do automated buys via their cookie-centric trading desks, which allow them to mesh lots of data from different sources. Instead, they have to go to Apple, ask to reach a given audience and, well, trust Apple that it will deliver it.

Apple earns advertising revenue from the ads it sells in mobile apps and iTunes Radio streams. The company accrued $258 million in U.S. mobile-ad revenue last year, which is minuscule compared to the $3.98 billion and the $1.53 billion that Google and Facebook earned, respectively.

Apple keeps a tight rein on its customer data, but it is trying to work with advertisers in other ways. Pepsi, one of the first advertisers on Apple’s new iTunes Radio, launched a branded radio station when iTunes Radio made its debut last year. The “Pulse #Now” channel is used to advertise multiple food and beverages from the Pepsi product lineup.

What do you think of Apple’s policy on personal information sharing and advertising?

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