Mobile Advertising Efforts Not Going Well for Apple

Apple may have become a major player – if not emperor – of the smartphone realm, but the Cupertino, California-based tech giant has largely stumbled in its effort to become the dominant force in mobile advertising.

Since Apple first introduced it’s iAd mobile advertising platform last year, the company has been forced to cut the program’s initial buy-in rate by 70%.

According to a report Thursday morning from Bloomberg, Apple is facing so much substantial competition from rivals in the mobile ad space that the iPhone-maker simply can’t compete any longer with the original $1 million iAd buy-in rate.

Consequently, in February of this year, Apple first reduced the minimum ad purchase from $1 million to $500,000. Now, $300,000 is today’s new buy-in rate for iAd clients – another indication that Apple is “struggling to parlay its technology leadership into success in the ad industry.”

Thom Kennon, senior vice president of strategy for the Young & Rubicam ad agency in New York, says “Apple’s closed ecosystem may have been interesting in the short run for advertisers, but in the long run they priced themselves out.”

Apple also is taking steps to attract more advertising. In addition to offering lower prices, it hired a former ad agency executive, Carrie Frolich, who was the head of digital for WPP Plc’s MEC. And Apple added a new online design feature, called iAd Producer, to help agencies design ads more quickly.

Not withstanding Apple’s acknowledgment last winter of 60 “successful” brand campaigns for iAd and a corresponding “100 percent renewal rate,” Apple has obviously fumbled in its inaugural attempt to become to the mobile ad industry what it’s become to the mobile phone industry.