April 15, 2010 Last Updated 6:45 pm

Apple starts making mobile advertising sales calls; impressions of one agency to mobile platform demo

Ilya Vedrashko, the veep of media design at Hill Holliday posted an incredible entry on the company’s blog yesterday, giving outsiders a peek at what Apple is presenting to the mobile advertising community.
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The presentation to the agency was conducted by Andy Miller, the former CEO of Quattro Wireless. If you recall, Apple acquired Quattro early this year after failing to close on a deal with AdMob — a firm Google wants to acuire pending FTC approval.

If you are interested in any way with the direction of mobile advertising I encourage a trip over to the blog to read the whole post.

Here are the points that stood out to me.

1. “Each banner published on the network will carry an iAd logo to differentiate it from the ads that do click into the browser, a Good Housekeeping seal of sorts.” This is a good idea in that it takes the user experience into account. When you see an iAd you know that if you click on the ad you will not lose your place in the app that is open — unlike other embedded ads that will take you off into a browser to view the ad. This point, though, may be less important with the institution of multitasking inside the iPhone OS.

2. Apple plans on launching their new platform in June on the iPhone. This corresponds with the introduction of iPhone OS 4. Vedrashko didn’t know when the platform would be available for the iPad, but it makes sense that it would be in the Fall — that is, when the new OS will be available for iPad users to download. In the meantime, Apple is lining up “charter” advertisers, and these advertisers will have to create new ads — no repurposed ads will probably make it through Apple’s vetting process.

3. It’s all about demographic targeting and premium CPMs. Vedrashko quotes Adam Cahill, the head of the digital media group, as stating that “Apple doesn’t do cheap, they do premium. So I’d expect buyers to become trained very quickly that this is expensive inventory, and I’ll be interested to see how this might impact pricing across mobile, and even across digital channels more broadly.” Good point. Apple will probably target the top of the market, attempting to leave the more price conscious part of the market to Google and others. Maybe this is what Apple saw all along, that the segment they could attack was, what I like to call, the Nordstrom segment.

Vedrashko also quotes Johnny Won of digital strategies: “Google has been badly lagging in all aspects of mobile and Apple probably saw the lack of innovation in the mobile advertising market and decided to put their stake in the ground. Let’s also be clear here that mobile display advertising isn’t yet a billion dollar business, this isn’t about the money for Apple but reshaping the industry as they saw fit . . . The bottom line for Apple is the continuing creation of new and free apps for the App Store while everything else, like being the innovator in mobile advertising, sticking it to Google, pre-emptively blocking Adobe are just bonuses.” Another excellent point. What Apple wants, most of all, is for their developers to continue to write good apps for their mobile devices. They want them to be native — that is, to properly perform on the device — and they want to make sure their developers can make money, even while creating free apps.

And by the way, Vedrashko wants you to know that their firm is hiring!

One last point: Vedrashko also links to their earlier post that gives their impressions on the iPad itself. Vedrashko is one of the very few that seems to get the importance of a functional tablet.

“Despite its looks, the iPad is not a giant iPod or iPhone. It’s an entirely new kind of device whose form factor will dictate unique usage patterns. The iPhone is often used in quick bursts — you stand in a lunch line with a minute to spare, you pull out the iPhone, check Twitter, check weather, and then it’s “may I take your order please?” The iPad usage is more casual than the laptop ritual . . . It’s useful to think of the iPad not as a small computer or a large iPod but a household appliance, a Swiss army knife of media consumption.”

I completely agree. The iPad isn’t about it being a giant iPod touch, or a smaller netbook — neither are media consumption devices the way print is. So loading up a tablet with lots of great specs, like HP is attempting to do, will only create a different kind of laptop — not a media device. The user experience, something Apple cares deeply about, has to be as simple as print, but as inventive as electronic.

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