Apple News: The Next Frontier for Mobile Advertisers & Publishers?

June 28, 2018 | Article written by Carly Morris

Trust is a fundamental factor in a successful relationship. And no, we’re not just talking about romantic relationships. Over the past few years, both digital consumers and advertisers have increasingly prioritized the importance of trusted news sources.

A recent survey from Sharethrough reported that premium publishers are trusted more than social networks to deliver news. And an overwhelming 84% of respondents said that it was important to them to know the source of their news.

In many ways, Facebook damaged that trust when word got out that Cambridge Analytica collected and sold private information from more than 50 million Facebook users in order to target ads in the interest of politics. After the scandal, Facebook took a step back and made some changes to its platform.

Earlier this year, the social network announced it would shift its algorithms to show more content from users’ friends and less from brands and publishers. Since then, publishers, consumers, and mobile advertisers alike have begun to seek new, more trusted platforms on which to distribute, consume, and advertise.


The Rise of Apple News

Unlike ad-driven behemoths like Google and Facebook, Apple News was launched simply as a solution to distribute quality content. Many mobile advertisers have already shown interest in the platform, but the pros and cons are often still murky at best.

Here’s a breakdown on why advertisers and publishers may want to consider Apple News – and why they’ve still got a ways to go.


Pros of Apple News

● It’s helping mainstream news publications grow fast
Last year, Vice’s traffic via Apple News more than doubled, and Meredith saw 122% yearly growth in unique visitors.
● It’s adding bells and whistles
Apple News recently integrated with DoubleClick by Google to connect mobile advertisers with premium publishers on the platform. It also acquired digital magazine subscription service, Texture, to provide users with a monthly online subscription to over 200 e-magazines. And, just this week they’ve announced new plans for a bundled digital subscription service for News, Music and TV.
● It’s growing subscribers
While ad sales might not be rolling in just yet, paid subscribers to various publications are on the up and up.
● It’s spotlighting quality content
Apple News added a Spotlight feature to the app to feature top stories and increase visibility to trending news bites.


Cons of Apple News

● It lacks money-making opportunities
As of now, there’s not a lot of monetizable ROI for mobile advertisers. At this point it’s more about marketing and awareness than direct dollars. This is due to the fact that Apple News has strict control over ads in this early stage.
● It’s not great for lifestyle publishers
Apple News focuses primarily on hard-hitting stories. So, publishers that excel with lighter content on Facebook may miss their core audience on Apple News.


The Future of Apple News

Apple News is acutely aware of its own strengths and weaknesses and it’s hard at work finding new ways for publishers to monetize while maintaining a quality news platform.

Apple News is also focused on boosting its video strategy. Apple announced that it intends to incorporate more high-quality video into the app and promote the top videos in the “For You” section.

They’re also hoping to implement takeovers, so that publishers can purchase top content spots in order to drive more traffic and visibility.

While mobile advertisers are still seeking better ways to monetize through Apple News, they’re not overlooking the many pros of partnering with an app that has over 60 million U.S. monthly users.

There currently seem to be more pros than cons for publishers and advertisers looking to join forces with Apple News. But, as with any new avenue, it’s important to weigh out your individual needs and how they align with the platform’s capabilities. Always look before you leap by assessing potential short and long-term results, and determining your own ROI implications before getting on board.