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Why Apple’s iAd Didn’t Steal 50% of US Mobile Ad Spend




While the hype may have surrounded the oh-so-cool iPhone 4 announcement, Apple CEO Steve Job’s also revealed that its recently announced iAd mobile ad platform was doing quite well.

Not only has Apple secured big-name advertisers–such as AT&T, Best Buy, GE, JCPenney,  Nissan, Sears, State Farm, Target, and The Walt Disney Studios–but, according to a press release, has secured more than $60 million in iAd commitments.

Apple has iAd commitments for 2010 totaling over $60 million, which represents almost 50 percent of the total forecasted US mobile ad spending for the second half of 2010.

However you slice it, that’s a pretty impressive number for an advertising platform that’s not even live yet. However, I’d like to slice it this way: that $60 million does not, in fact, represent 50% of the mobile ad market!

Why?

Well, because Apple just introduced a brand new advertising channel. Sure, the iPhone is a “mobile” device–so by that definition, Apple has shored-up 50% share–but saying the iPhone is part of the existing mobile space is like saying Google Adwords is part of the mainstream online advertising industry.

Apple has created a brand new category of ads. They’re mobile, yes, but they’re also directly tied to a closed platform and linked to software apps. That deserves an entirely new category. Put another way, I doubt any of the above advertisers are going to fund their iAds by stealing budget from their existing mobile advertising funds. Nope, they’ll spend the $60 million with Apple AND continue to spend their existing budget on other mobile ads.

Say what you want about Apple, it sure knows how to create new categories. iPods, iTunes, iPhones, iPads, and now iAds. All created categories that didn’t previously exist–at least not to the same degree that they exist now.

iAds goes live on July 1st.

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