Apple wants to be the privacy Big Tech company. But it won’t say no to some extra cash as a result.
Earlier in 2021, Apple instituted a new App Store policy that limited apps’ ability to track user behavior without getting express permission first, which has made targeted advertising more difficult.
The result may very well be less snooping on our iPhone habits by companies like Facebook and Google. However, a new report from Financial Times shows there was an unexpected (for us, at least) upside for Apple, too. Speaking with multiple analytics firms and advertisers, FT found that Apple’s own App Store advertising business skyrocketed after initiating the policy change.
Apple sells advertising space in the App Store. For example, if you search for a specific iPhone game, you will see sponsored results for other games, or other related apps, at the top of the results. This is a form of targeted advertising, according to the FT.
One analytics firm noted in the report that, in the last six months, Apple went from capturing 17 percent of all sponsored app store downloads, to now having 58 percent. Its revenue from this business is expected to double, and advertisers said they were spending more advertising with Apple, as opposed to Google. The advertisers said they could get more granular, real-time data, with retargeting capabilities through Apple ads — something advertisers like Facebook can no longer offer.
If this is all too much business and ad talk, the simple takeaway here is: Apple’s move to safeguard user privacy is also enriching Apple itself. Why? Less outside advertising appearing in your App Store feeds means more room for Apple-hosted ads.
Mashable reached out to Apple but did not hear back before the time of publication. Apple told the FT that the new advertising policy was about protecting users, not “advantaging” Apple.
Apple’s privacy updates were a welcome change for users. But that doesn’t make the FT’s report any less eyebrow-raising, especially as Apple continues to be investigated for monopolistic business practices. Even if making things more difficult for its competition while creating some new business for itself wasn’t Apple’s (public) intention, we’re sure the company is not mad at the result.