In a recent interview with YouTube’s vice president of sales, Lucas Watson, disclosed that mobile ad sales have tripled over the past six months. This suggests that the removal of Apple’s ad-free version formerly part of the iOS mobile operating system was a key factor in driving revenue. Mobile ads contributed an estimated $350 million to YouTube’s revenue over the past half year according to Bloomberg.
Although not mentioned by Watson, a key driver to the boom in ad revenue could possibly be Apple’s decision to deprecate its in-house YouTube app from iOS. In response to the move, Google launched a standalone YouTube app in Apple’s App Store just a few days before iOS 6 debuted in September of 2012, which freed the company to show ads ahead of popular videos. According to Watson:
The commercial business has exploded. It’s a huge part of our business, and we know that’s where it’s headed.
It seems like Apple’s move away from Google actually ended up benefitting Google when it comes to mobile ad revenue.