Apple May Join Facebook, Twitter with Ad Exchange Plans

Facebook has done it. Twitter reportedly wants to do it. And now Apple is said to be considering it as well.

Unnamed sources are cited in a new report published by Business Insider on Friday indicating that Apple is planning to launch an ad exchange.

In theory, an ad exchange would work by allowing advertisers to target users as they enter the Apple eco-system on their iPads, MacBooks, various web sites and apps. The system would alert advertisers that an Apple user arrived. Any advertiser tracking that user with a cookie could then bid to serve an ad targeting that user.

Earlier this week, Tim Cook was asked about mobile advertising at the AllThingsD conference. He didn’t confirm any plans for an ad exchange, but he did reiterate why Apple ventured into mobile advertising in the first place.

“We got into mobile advertising because we want developers to make money…It wasn’t about Apple making money,” Cook said, noting that mobile advertising still is not “large enough to be core” to the company.

Apple alumnus Dan Grigorovici, now CEO at AdMobius, believes Apple has the potential to build a “tremendous” ad exchange.

“Apple owns the device, the app ecosystem, the ad SDK, the transactional system (iTunes, etc.), multiple media channels (online, TV – albeit that’s small today, smartphones, tablets), multiple content categories (music, movies, etc.),” Grigorovici tells AdExchanger. “From that standpoint, I had always believed that if Apple plans to evolve the ad business to be more important, they have probably the best opportunity for cross-channel advertising, and one of the best data assets out there.”

So, will Apple pull the trigger and actually go through with launching an ad exchange? For now, at least, that’s what the rumor mill suggests.