March 15, 2016 Last Updated 1:56 pm

Apple publishes new iAd specs, including for native advertising

Apple is also said to be beginning an ad campaign for its Apple News app which has disappointed publishers with low readership and failure to provide useful user information

The Apple developer site has published a new spec sheet for Apple iAds (PDF here) and for the first time there is a spec for native advertising.


Native ads display directly in the content feeds, inline with News articles. They will be set in the default font used in News. Each ad includes a title, text excerpt and a small image, and is distinguished by a ‘Sponsored’ callout. The sponsored advertiser name is optional. If an advertiser name is not provided, the reader will see ‘Sponsored’ in the banner. Please note, if the title wraps to four lines (especially on iPhone and iPod touch), the excerpt will not be displayed. Native ads can link to an article in News.


Native ads can link directly to an article published in the Apple News app, but if the advertiser wants to omit their name in the ad copy the word “Sponsored” would appear.

There are also reports, including this one from Digiday that Apple has begun an ad campaign to try and boost usage of Apple News. The app has proven a disappointment for publishers due to low readership levels, as well as Apple’s usual lack of support for its publishing partners. The Apple Publisher page remains showing the program in beta and the Apple News Format “coming soon” – the same state it was in since launch.

“Still, those changes only address part of the problem publishers are having. Having comScore measurement will help publishers sell ads on the platform, but Apple News requires ads to be custom-built, and unless the publisher is reaching a big audience there, the extra friction of creating a special ad for Apple News isn’t worth the effort,” wrote Lucia Moses of Digiday. “If the publisher doesn’t sell the ad, Apple can, but Apple’s fill rate, as one publishing exec described it, is ‘terrible’.”

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