Apple is studying the buying habits of many of its 150 million iTunes users in effort to target advertising to customers a new report suggests.
Bloomberg claims Apple's iAd, a new marketing platform for advertisers, introduced last week, is fine-tuning targeted ads to make them more appealing to iTunes users.
Spending on mobile ads could triple to $1.56 billion in 2013 according to market research company EMarketer. The iAd platform puts Apple in direct competition with Google, who earlier this year bought mobile-ad network AdMob.
"Apple knows what you've downloaded, how much time you spend interacting with applications and knows even what you've downloaded, don't like and deleted," Rachel Pasqua of ICrossing told Bloomberg. Director of mobile at the marketing firm, Pasqua's clients include Toyota and Mazda.
While Apple doesn't share information on individuals, the iPhone maker promises advertisers full-screen in-line video, wallpapers, games, interactive maps, in-ad app or iTunes content downloads, social networking tools and more with a potential audience of millions.
Unilever, is a typical iAd customer Bloomberg notes, using the mobile platform to target married men, who are in their late 30s and have children, with a range of Dove Men+Care soap.
"Apple then overlays that with the iTunes information and targets quite well and quite surgically," Rob Candelino, marketing director at Unilever tells Bloomberg, targeting "buckets" of applications with ads, based on characteristics of its users.
So far, big name brands including Unilever, Nissan, JC Penney, Best Buy and AT&T have signed up for the iAd service.
"The leading global brands we're working with are developing iAds timed with their seasonal marketing campaigns, such as back to school and the holiday shopping season," adds Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller. "We're just taking our first few steps. We'll work our way up to walking and running as this year progresses."
This story, "Apple Focuses on ITunes Buying Habits to Fine-tune IAd" was originally published by Macworld U.K..