Apple changes to app purchases, iAds affect publishers worldwide

By Sarah Riley


Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


Changes in the global economy have ripple effects that don’t just affect prices at the gas pump or the grocery store. Exchange rate fluctuations in some countries have prompted Apple to re-evaluate its App Store price tiers, including for in-app purchases in Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, and South Africa.

This means if you have paid apps or subscribers, they’re about to see their prices go up both in the store and on their monthly bill.

In Canada, for example, the lowest pricing tier now starts at C$1.39, up from C$1.19 in September 2015. The higher-priced tiers are the most affected, with prices that were formerly C$50 now increased to C$69.99. Apple released an encyclopedic PDF earlier this month outlining the new pricing for reference.

By most standards, you could consider these increases marginal.

But in the App Store, where pricing is assigned to something somewhat intangible (software), the perception of price is relative. It’s a unique economic landscape where a C$1.99 app can actually be considered “expensive.”

You can easily imagine a situation where suddenly increasing the price by a dollar or two might make an app provider come across as greedy or its product exorbitant. So, if you’re in Canada, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, or South Africa and you have a paid app in the App Store, you might want to take the temperature of your audience and adjust accordingly.

If your users are subscribing to your app via in-app purchase, Apple will e-mail them about the change to let them know, as well as to give them the option to cancel. For Russian and South African users, Apple will require a manual re-subscription at the new price.

Apple has regularly made allowances for exchange rates in the past, usually following big swings in currencies that aren’t projected to level out over time. For anyone interested in exploring pricing strategy a little further, head on over to MacStories for an extensive piece on how a developer partner can help make it easier for you to sell your app internationally.

In other Apple news that could affect your mobile products, Apple released a statement on its developer Web site that it’s giving up on iAds. iAd will be no longer as of June 30. The six-year programme was barely profitable, according to BuzzFeed News, which recently reported Apple’s plans to eliminate the iAd sales team because of its lagging success.

Though it’s slated to be around for another five months, effective immediately, Apple will no longer accept new apps into the iAd programme.

What does that mean for publishers using the platform? Apple’s statement leaves out a lot of detail, but it appears that all current iAd partners can continue their existing campaigns, create new ones, and earn ad revenue up until the shutdown date.

As of this writing, Apple hasn’t announced any future plans in the mobile advertising space, but it’s not entirely clear that they’re giving up on it just yet. In a Wall Street Journal interview about the Apple News App, Apple executive Eddie Cue alluded to the same form of iAd living on as an automated self-serve platform.

It’s rumoured that using the next iteration of the programme will no longer require you to deal with Apple as an intermediary, or, for that matter, give the company a cut of advertising revenue. If this is true, it is great news for publishers.

About Sarah Riley

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