Apple's Strangling iAds With Creative Control

Apple's iAd platform is here, but the advertisements themselves are still few and far between. According to the WSJ, Apple's desire to closely control the creation of the ads has slowed their arrival.

WSJ notes that of the 17 partners Apple named at launch, only two, Unilever and Nissan, had iAds for the greater part of July, and only three more have launched ads since. The slow start can be attributed in part to what Apple promoted as one of the platform's advantages: highly-polished, well-produced ads.

Ad executives say that Apple has kept an exceedingly tight control on the creative aspects of the ads, which is making them take longer to create than traditional mobile ads. One ad executive (who isn't making ads for Apple's platform) says, "It's a huge issue having Apple in the creative mix." And having them in the mix seems to be something of an understatement:

With Apple handling the production of the ad unit, agencies don't necessarily know what it is capable of or how to use the technology, one ad executive said. The iAd is designed in HTML5 technology, and Apple has yet to distribute a "developer kit" to agencies so they can understand how it works.

In addition, Apple doesn't tell marketers where their iAd is appearing, leaving advertisers searching for their ads, said people familiar with the process. Apple does allow marketers to say where they don't want their ads to appear and provides data about user behavior in the iAd. It doesn't allow marketers to place their own measurement tags in iAds.

Still, Nissan has said that their campaign has driven "exceptional results," and presumably Apple and ad agencies will find an equilibrium that allows for a freer flow of ads in coming months. Thank goodness! [WSJ]