Apple could be the best thing to happen to online ads

It goes without saying that when Apple sets its sights on something there is never any doubt that it will do it right. From their laptops to mobile phones to their operating systems Apple's iron grip on design and implementation is impeccable and in just about all cases sets new standards the rest of the industry follows in one way or another.

So it was interesting when word came that Apple would be launching its own mobile ad network and all indications that anything coming through that network would have to meet the same standards as all other Apple products. After all the company's products had always been considered to be flagships of the industry and from what people have said about some of the ads to already appear that adherence to quality can be seen in ads like the one for Nissan.

All this hasn't been without problems though, which considering Apple's reputation for micromanaging anything to do with the Apple ecosphere. Case in point is the fuss being raised over a post at the Wall Street Journal claiming that the company's ad service is off to a bumpy start

Since launching its iAd mobile advertising service on July 1, Apple has been slow to roll it out. Of the 17 launch partners Apple named for iAd, only Unilever PLC and Nissan Co. had iAd campaigns for much of July. Of the remaining 17, Citigroup Inc., Walt DisneyCo. and J.C. Penney Co.—which tied its campaign to the back-to-school-season—have since launched iAd campaigns and other companies are planning iAd efforts.

Part of the reason some marketers are experiencing delays in getting their iAds to market is that Apple has kept tight control on the creative aspects of ad-making, something advertisers aren't used to, according to several ad executives involved with creating iAds.

As much as people might like to point fingers at Apple for being to controlling and wanting to make sure that any and all ads going through their ad network meet the company's exceptionally high standards I think the whole discussions points to another failing of online advertising.

Since the beginning of banner advertising on the web when outrageously high prices were paid based on the CPM model the web has been treated as the ad dumpster of the advertising world. Even today banner ads, and even text ads, are for the most part nothing but junk that any newspaper, magazine or television ad exec would throw back in your face if you tried to sell it to them.

For the most part these dregs of advertising budgets end up on sites that really have no say about them showing up. Unless you are a name brand site, or blog, where you can have a say in what ads go on your site you are stuck with the leftovers pumped out by some ad company intern. As Jacqui Cheng pointed out in a post at Ares Technica:

As someone who used to work in the ad agency world, part of the reason the clients are not used to that kind of turnaround is because most agencies prioritize mobile ads so low that they're willing to give them to an unpaid intern to churn out in two hours. I ran the story by a former colleague who has since moved onto much bigger and better agencies, and he said 8 to 10 weeks for a high quality ad is "a realistic timeline."
So along comes Apple, with a totally different ethos than all these advertisers are use to, and tells them that there is no way their customers are going to be served up the typical left-over garbage. If advertisers want to play in the Apple playground there are a whole new set of rules.

Of course this is going to rub the advertising execs the wrong way because they aren't use to being the ones not dictating terms. Obviously this isn't going to sit well and many are going to chaff at the Apple way of doing things. Where once it was a case of dump and run the advertisers where now actually having to create advertising that both looks incredible and at the same time not piss off the Apple customers.

The one thing that people, especially the advertisers, are forgetting is that regardless of what product Apple brings to market the first iteration of that product is always the hardest and be full of slowdowns. Look to the App Store as a prime example of that because we all remember the many posts about App Store problems when it first launched.

While it still isn't perfect in some ways it has gotten better over the years. The same thing is going to happen with iADs as Brad McCarty at The Next Web illustrated

As the iAd platform matures, Apple will gain speed in its release of new advertising. Once its up to cruising altitude, the companies who jumped ship early will be fighting for space to get back into Apple’s grasp.

Mark my words on this one: We are going to see an influx and a massive queue for advertisers who want to be involved with iAds

I think as well that we could really see a massive side effect from iADs that will find its way through the Web as a whole. Keep in mind that Apple first and foremost believes in quality and style. We are seeing that in what ads are already showing via their iADs network and it could also very well have a trickle down effect on advertising in general on the web.

As much as we may make fun of, and rail against Apple's iron fisted way of doing business the net effect on web advertising could be the overall improvement of ad quality right across the web. No longer would quality ads be just the realm of big name sites and blogs but also within the reach of all the sites and blogs that run ads.