Apple’s release of the iAd advertising solution with iOS 4 was bound to shake things up in the mobile advertising industry. According to Bloomberg, it absolutely did. The new numbers show all the big players in the ad business scrambling to stop the hemorrhaging of their mobile ad market share to the new player in town, while Apple is seeing a jump to 21 percent of the market by the end of the year. Interestingly enough, in the industry that Google used to dominate, Apple isn’t the only threat. Small ad companies like Jumptap and Millennial Media are quickly gaining ground in the market, and are swiftly becoming key competitors.
Apple’s announcement of iAd brought on a flurry of upgrades and acquisitions, like Google’s AdMob purchase. In keeping up with the competition, these companies may have stemmed the negative of flow of market share to a point, but it only served to slow the ascent of iAd into the mobile ad fray. Google is down to 21 percent from 27 percent last year. Microsoft dropped from 10 percent to seven. Now, it’s really only a question of how fast iAd will grow going forward. Striking ad deals with companies like Best Buy, Unilever, and DirectTV will definitely go a long way in entrenching iAd in the top few spots in the leaderboard, but in this field, swift innovation and upgrades are keys to success.
Apple isn’t the only new contender either. Ericsson has announced its own ad network, called Admarket, and RIM is rumored to be purchasing an as of yet unnamed ad network. According to Karsten Weide, an analyst at IDC, "It's not going to be a two-horse race. The race by no means is over."