iPad advertising datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
June 4, 2010
Andrew Vanacore spins a whole story out of one curious datapoint today: he says that on USA Today's iPad app, advertisers such as Marriott are paying "about $50 for every thousand times, or impressions, the ad appears", compared to less than $10 on the website.

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Andrew Vanacore spins a whole story out of one curious datapoint today: he says that on USA Today’s iPad app, advertisers such as Marriott are paying “about $50 for every thousand times, or impressions, the ad appears”, compared to less than $10 on the website.

I just downloaded the app to see for myself, and indeed the ad doesn’t work unless and until the iPad has an internet connection. Unlike say the Wired app, where the ads are downloaded with the app itself, the USA Today app can download the ad from an ad server which counts impressions.

Maybe that makes some sense, for advertisers which are used to running ads on a CPM basis. But it seems to me that one of the great things about the iPad is that it can be read in a leisurely fashion in places where there isn’t an internet connection — by the pool, or on the subway, or in an airplane. The problem is that Apple, if I have my facts right on this one, either can’t or won’t tell publishers how many times a particular ad has been viewed, if the ad is downloaded as part of an app.

In reality, this isn’t much of a problem at all: it’s long past time that we got over the tyranny of the CPM, especially when it comes to glossy, high-production-value ads on the iPad; the bigger problem is that Apple is far from forthcoming with the kind of demographic data that advertisers crave.

In any event, I look forward to a time when iPad ads — at least the ones within apps — are not sold or counted on a CPM basis. And I suspect that so long as they are, revenues will be significantly lower than they could be — not least because those ads simply won’t appear for many people trying to use the app.


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If an ad is included in the app, then I don’t understand why it wouldn’t be treated the same as an ad in a magazine. It will stay with the copy on the ipad, and probably have a longer shelf life than a paper copy, and certainly be more likely to be viewed than a web ad.

It will be a moot point, though, if the ipad magazine publishers continue to charge a premium for ipad editions of their publication, when they should be a discount. Why should any magazine cost $6 when the electronic distribution cost is virtually a couple pennies? Are they intentionally trying to fail? Why can I get a year’s worth of paper copies of Wired for $15, but have to pay almost 5 times that for the ipad version?

The publishers have the financing of their product backwards – instead of low advertising costs and high per-copy rates for downloaded, persistent copies, they should lower the per copy cost to readers, and increase the advertising rates for the superior, persistent platform they provide to advertisers.

Posted by OnTheTimes | Report as abusive

Obama and the Democrats have done everything wrong, and its not that they weren’t warned. Istead of trusting the people of the nation with their own money they only trusted Government and went on a spree of corrupt spending and debt of historic proportions. Now Obama has to resort to telling us that a bunch of temporary census jobs is good news while the stock market looks at the millions of UNEMPLOYED and tanks. Hold on to your hats….Obama and the Dems may have spent all that money and we’ll still have a second dip recession!!!

Posted by valwayne | Report as abusive

Paying for any app that carries advertising is like paying for commercial cable TV. There’s dreadful masochism involved in doubling ones suffering by paying twice – once by watching the commercials and again for the dubious privilege of the crappy signal – for a deluge of rarely useful marketing-o-tainment.

Some day America will come to realize what the rest of the world already knows: advertising to feeble-minded customers and charging them for it into the bargain only encourages further mental illness.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

The IPad TV ads show someone playing a “keyboard” and the melody that we (listeners) hear, IS NOT what the person is playing–the fingering doesn’t match. And most intelligent iPad users would notice this. Not good. It’s a little thing, but it doesn’t fit. Does anyone notice or care about this? And shouldn’t I be sent a free iPad because I noticed this? We people who love Apple products want GREAT advertising!!! I am a dedicated user and don’t want others to see this flaw. Mary Pat Archuleta, mparchuleta@bis.midco.net

Posted by mparchuleta | Report as abusive