On October 17th, Verizon Media – the company founded as a result of Verizon Communications’ acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo! – won the right to sell ads for Apple News and Apple Stocks in its Canada, Australia and UK territories, as Apple tries to make its news aggregator more inviting to advertisers. The same rights will be held by NBC in the US.
It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement for these tech heavyweights: Verizon and NBC only stand to benefit from extra ad inventory to sell, and Apple may not wish to invest in a sales force of the size required to maximise the value of that inventory.
How will it benefit publishers?
While Apple News comes with many benefits – not least its 90 million-strong user base – the financial returns of Apple News have historically proven challenging. “The money is underwhelming”, one anonymous publishing ad sales executive told AdAge. So, this new deal will increase returns for publishers as it aims to maximise the ad inventory sold.
Are there any drawbacks?
These deals arrived alongside an update to Apple’s publisher guidelines, detailing how media companies can operate on its platform. They provide some pretty clear indication of what Apple deems too offensive for marketers. To put it simply, Apple has revealed the Apple News topics it will not display ads alongside. The guidelines state: “As part of our commitment to a brand-safe environment for publishers, ads won’t display in the following Apple News sensitive content categories: Accidents and disasters; Corporate crime; Historical events; Obesity; Reckless endangerment; War and unrest.”
This is difficult for news publishers, many of whom cover one or more of these topics daily. These updates come as part of Apple’s commitment to a “brand-safe” environment for publishers, whereby Apple strives to other itself from Facebook and Google, two platforms whose advertisers are concerned about their messages appearing alongside potentially inflammatory material.
Is there anything else publishers should consider?
Publishers can sell their own ads for display on their channels and articles. Publications keep 100% of revenue from ads they sell, but 70% of the ads Apple sells through into their channels through its deals with Verizon and NBC.
If you’d like to seamlessly integrate your publication with Apple News, click here.