Apple's highly restricted iAd advertising program has long been a tiny business — thanks to those restrictions. But Apple has released an API designed to make programmatic advertising easier. (Programmatic advertising refers to campaigns triggered by events and deployed based on rules.) The partnership announcements are rolling in on the heels of the first announcement last week by Rubicon. The growing list now includes TapSense, The Trade Desk, MediaMath, GET IT Mobile, Accordant Media, Adelphic and AdRoll. Apple says this will facilitate scale while not compromising Apple's data on users that it maintains in its iTunes and App stores. It hasn't joined real-time bidding yet, but that could change.
One reporter warns of a potentially huge consequence: a war with Facebook. As Allison Schiff reports, Apple's API offers an advantage of automation:
In other words, Facebook better watch out. Although Apple and Facebook can both be viewed as walled gardens, the Facebook Ads API still requires users to go through an approval process, and advertisers still need to use Facebook’s console to run ads through the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) — possibly to maintain direct relationships with advertisers. But in a very un-Apple-like move — iAd, after all, started life courting brands and agencies and gunning for million dollars deals — Apple will enable automated reporting through its API. Apple looks more transparent than Facebook here.
Apple plans to add more APIs to the program over time. The iAd API Workbench Guide is now available.