Apple Taps Rubicon Project To Revamp iAd With Automation

Apple is planning to automate the way iAd does business.

Apple on Wednesday announced a partnership with Rubicon Project, a major ad exchange, to power the iAd ad platform. Apple has also tapped “several other advertising technology companies” for the revamped iAd, per a release, although only Rubicon is named.

Business Insider first reported the partnership, although a few unusual events made it seem as if the partnership had been delayed. Rubicon Project posted a press release on Tuesday, and the release was subsequently taken down. (Business Insider dug it up from a Google cache for its initial report.) On Wednesday afternoon, however, the release went live again, marking the official announcement of the partnership.

With Rubicon, Apple will form an open marketplace for the trading of iAd inventory. Advertisers will be able to buy audiences across Apple’s mobile app inventory via Rubicon’s ad exchange, per a release. Apple will use Rubicon’s “direct order automation platform,” which is also sometimes referred to as a “programmatic direct” platform.

“We’re thrilled to have been chosen by Apple to help bring automation to iAd’s direct order business and to provide access to premium mobile buyers from around the world,” stated Gregory R. Raifman, president of Rubicon Project.

Rubicon had no further comments for Real-Time Daily at press time.

The lifeblood of Apple’s programmatic iAd platform will be first-party data gathered from “hundreds of millions of validated iTunes account worldwide,” Apple notes. The company boasts that over 400 targets options are available on the platform. The iAd platform is used by over 250,000 mobile developers, per a release.

Apple first unveiled iAd over four-and-a-half years ago. Since then, however, the platform has not been able to compete with Apple’s chief rivals, namely Google and Facebook. The partnership with Rubicon suggests Apple is keen to make iAd a bigger part of its overall business.

While bringing programmatic capabilities to the platform was the next logical step — as automation is sweeping through the ad industry at large — this is not the only recent announcement Apple has made indicating iAd’s growing importance to the company. In late October, Apple announced a major expansion of the iAd platform, making it available in 70 additional companies (bringing its total to 95).

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