Apple hires former Facebook advertising exec to bolster its own ads platform

Despite Apple saying that its products and services are ad-free, there are some ad slots on the App Store and other native iOS and macOS apps. As the company’s services category continues to grow, it seems that Apple is taking the next big step to invest in its advertising platform with the hiring of Antonio Garcia Martinez — who worked at Facebook’s ad team.

As reported by Business Insider, Martinez was hired by Apple in April and is expected to work in Cupertino, California, based on information from his LinkedIn profile. He worked at Facebook from 2011 to 2013 as Product Manager for the social network’s ad platform and is also known for being an entrepreneur and author of the popular book “Chaos Monkeys.”

He first focused on its ad-targeting efforts before becoming product manager on FBX, Facebook’s now defunct real-time bidding ad exchange. He published “Chaos Monkeys” in 2016, a tell-all memoir covering his time at the company.

According to the report, the author and entrepreneur is joining Apple to work with the App Store and Apple News advertising team. Both the company and Martinez declined to comment on the hiring.

Apple once had its own ad platform called iAd, which let advertisers deliver interactive ads within iOS apps. However, the platform was never considered a success, and Apple discontinued it in 2016. Even so, Apple now offers ad slots to highlight apps in the App Store, not to mention the ads shown in Apple News.

Apple earned $16.9 billion from services in Q2 2021, which includes the App Store and the ads within it. More recently, Apple has been encouraging more developers to promote their iOS apps through ads, which suggests that the company does indeed want to further explore such a category.

Interestingly, this comes as the company is pushing the new App Tracking Transparency feature to let users opt out of being tracked by third-party apps, which has considerably impacted companies like Facebook, whose revenue is primarily based on advertisements. According to a recent report, more than 10,000 apps have already adopted the feature.

While it seems unlikely that Apple will become a major player in the online advertising market, the company probably wants to ensure that ads shown in iOS (at least in its own apps) comply with privacy guidelines.

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