iad apple ad marketplaceTwo years ago, Apple debuted iAd with the goals of transforming how ads look, work, and sell, charging massive seven-figure sums for allowing brands the privilege of ushering in a brave new world of mobile advertising and capturing almost half of the mobile ad market.

Predictably, iAd iFlopped.

This week, Apple unveiled a much more modest — and much smarter — solution for mobile ads: iAd Workbench. The minimum buy-in is now $50.

iAd Workbench is a simple way to create and manage app user acquisition campaigns on iOS. It allows you to target users by types of apps they currently use, movies they like, music they listen to, TV shows they watch, and books they read. If you’re catching the hint, that’s pretty much all the media types that Apple Inc. facilitates the sale of. You can also enable autotargeting, allowing Apple to decide who might be most interested in downloading or buying your app.

Targeting options in Apple's new iAd Workbench. Note that iOS 7 notwithstanding, skeuomorphism is alive and well at Apple.

Above: Targeting options in Apple’s new iAd Workbench. Note that iOS 7 and Jony Ive notwithstanding, skeuomorphism is alive and well at Apple.

Image Credit: Apple

Anyone who has used Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, or Google AdWords would find iAds Workbench fairly familiar. You enter a budget, a maximum daily spend, and the most you’ll pay for clicks or downloads — your choice. Then you create an ad with your own art, an Apple-supplied template, or previously used art and initiate your campaign.

iAd Workbench

After your campaign is live, Apple offers analytics and tools to determine which banners are converting, how much you’ve spent, how many impressions your ad campaign generated, number of downloads, and your cost per acquisition:

iad Workbench Apple

Apple calls it the “simplest way to create, manage, and optimize ad campaigns to promote your apps.” It’s certainly simple, and time will tell if it’s also the best solution to promote your apps.

You have to wonder, however, how much this announcement caused the summary execution of former app discovery giant AppGratis.

Image credits: Apple

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