Apple wins in internet marketing after iOS change at Fb and Google

A head of the US Federal Communications Commission said he has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over data security concerns. Shown here is the TikTok download page on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020.

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The Google-Facebook online ad duopoly could be falling apart.

Apple is gaining momentum in digital ads, while Google and Facebook appear to be losing steam, according to research published Tuesday by Appsumer.

The study, based on an analysis of the online advertising budgets of over 100 different consumer app companies, found that Apple’s ads business benefited from the company’s major iOS privacy update in 2021, which made it harder for companies like Facebook to target users to track the internet.

Apple’s search ads allow users to advertise in the iPhone manufacturer’s App Store. Advertiser adoption rose nearly 4 percentage points year over year to 94.8% in the second quarter, while Facebook adoption fell 3 percentage points to 82.8%, Appsumer said. Google’s rate fell 2 points to 94.8%.

According to Appsumer, which is owned by InMobi, Apple has “joined the duopoly of Facebook and Google at the forefront of advertiser adoption.”

Shumel Lais, general manager at Appsumer, attributed Apple’s improved reputation to a rising number of app developers willing to pay big bucks to encourage downloads. At the same time, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update has limited the amount of data ad-based apps like Facebook can use to help brands with their online advertising campaigns.

“One of the things that’s quite interesting is the ATT measurement limitations imposed on the broader network that don’t exist in the same way for Apple,” Lais said. “So you could say that Apple has a bit more visibility or an advantage over the other channels on iOS.”

The rise in Apple’s online developer ads reflects Amazon’s position in e-commerce, as retailers spend more to advertise their products on the site they rely on for customers.

When it comes to total app developer spend on online advertising, also known as share of wallet, Google remains the leader at 34%. Facebook is second at 28%, followed by Apple at 15%. Amazon was not listed because it is not a platform for developers.

At the bottom of the market, TikTok overtook Snap, which was also hammered by ATT. TikTok has a 3% market share and Snap is at 2%, Appsumer said.

Though it outperformed Snap, TikTok’s adoption rate fell nearly 7 percentage points in the second quarter. According to Lais, app developers are still trying to figure out which ads work well on the short video service.

“Brands may still be adapting that TikTok works for every industry,” Lais said.

The numbers weren’t all bad for Facebook. Its share of wallet rose 4 points to 28% in the fourth quarter, suggesting the social media company is feeling some “signs of recovery,” Lais said. In July, Facebook parent Meta reported a sharper-than-expected fall in second-quarter revenue and said third-quarter sales will fall again from the same period last year.

According to Lais, unlike Google and Apple, which serve ads based on search terms, Facebook benefits from ad randomness.

“Facebook still has very unique characteristics and people are in a kind of discovery mode, so there’s still opportunity there,” Lais said.

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