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Adding iAds to an App

, 1 Nov 2012 CPOL
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A chapter excerpt from iOS in Practice
iOS in Practice

Bear Cahill

Integrating into various systems seems to be a big growth area for technology in general, and, especially, in the mobile world. A growing number of apps let you post to Twitter, the Facebook app can sync with your contacts, and ShareKit will let you integrate with a variety of online options. A growing area for integration development is iAds. In this article based on chapter 10 of iOS in Practice, author Bear Cahill shows how to add iAds to an app.

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Advertising is not a new way to make money. It’s not even new to mobile apps. However, Apple does it differently, since the distributor of your app is also the advertiser (sort of—they may not be advertising, but they are the warehouse serving the ads and securing the deals).

In our case, our app isn’t really much for selling since it does about the same thing as iTunes. And, we don’t have any In-App Purchases to offer the user. So let’s add ads and see if we can monetize it that way.

You may not be able to sell your app for $.99 but, if you can get $.10 from a user 20 times, you’ve done better. Let’s look at adding iAds to our app.

Technique 1: Configuring iTunes for iAds

As with some other special additions to apps (GameCenter, In-App purchases, Apple Push Notifications), iAds requires some online configuration in iTunes Connect, but not much.

Problem

We need to configure our app in iTunes Connect to include iAds.

Solution

We only need to log into iTunes Connect and enable iAds for our app.

Discussion

There’s not much to it but, of course, it’s important. Without enabling iAds for you app, it won’t get any ads. In the Provisioning Portal, create a new app id. Then, log into iTunes Connect and click on your app to manage it. Click on the Set up iAd Network button (see figure 1).

Figure 1 iTunes Connect allows you to set up iAd Network for your app

On the iAds page, select your target audience age and click Enable iAds (see figure 2).

Figure 2 Select your target audience age and enable iAds in iTunes Connect

You may need to check your contracts area in iTunes Connect to make sure you have all the necessary agreements in place. This is a good idea to do periodically anyway. I sometimes get asked by clients why their app is no longer in the AppStore. The first thing I do is get them to log into iTunes Connect and see if there’s any new or updated contracts they need to agree to. Now, that we’ve setup iAds in iTunes Connect, let’s add it to the app.

Technique 2: Adding iAds to an App

Adding iAds to your app is a lot like adding a regular view to your app. In Interface Builder, there is an ADBannerView you can drag and drop into your project.

Problem

We need to add iAds to our project and handle it accordingly.

Solution

In the UI editor, we’ll add an ADBannerView to our UI ad. In the code, we’ll handle the callback methods to hide the ad view when no ad is loaded.

Discussion

Open the RootViewController.xib file. Since our artwork image is pretty small, we really don’t need the UIWebView to be so big. Let’s use that for our ad space. Drag the top of the web view down to leave some room, and drop an ADBannerView in there (see figure 3).

Figure 3 Dropping an ADBannerView control in our web view UI

For the code, be sure to add the iAd.Framework and add an outlet in RootViewController.h for the ADBannerView to be connected with Interface Builder.

Declare that RootViewController implements ADBannerViewDelegate in the header also. Also declare a bool flat named hidingAdBanner.

When there’s no ad displaying, we want to hide the ADBannerView control. A method that hides or shows the ad banner view based on what’s passed in and the current state will help out here (see listing 1).

Listing 1 Method to hide the AdBanner by moving it

offscreen with animation
-(void)hideAdBanner:(bool)hideIt;
{
    if ((hideIt && hidingAdBanner)
        || (!hideIt && !hidingAdBanner))
        return;                                         #1
 
    hidingAdBanner = hideIt;                            #2
    
    [UIView beginAnimations:nil context:nil];
 
    int adHeight = adBanner.frame.size.height;
    CGRect r = adBanner.frame;
    r.origin.y -= adHeight;                             #3
    adBanner.frame = r;
 
    r = webView.frame;
    r.origin.y -= adHeight;
    r.size.height += adHeight;                          #4
    webView.frame = r;
 
     [UIView commitAnimations];                        #5
}
#1 Not needed
#2 Sets flag
#3 Moves banner
#4 Taller Webview
#5 Animates it

There are a few delegate methods for the ADBannerView. With Interface Builder, set the delegate of the ADBannerView to be RootViewController. There are two callback methods we’re interested in: when the ad loads and when the ad fails to load.

When the app starts, we can call hideAdBanner with YES so that the banner is out of view since there’s no ad loaded. When an ad loads, we can call it again with NO. If an ad fails to load, we can call it again with YES (see listing 2).

Listing 2 Call hideAdBanner with YES when ads fail

to load and NO when ads load
- (void)bannerView:(ADBannerView *)banner
    didFailToReceiveAdWithError:(NSError *)error
{
    [self hideAdBanner:YES];
}
 
- (void)bannerViewDidLoadAd:(ADBannerView *)banner
{
    [self hideAdBanner:NO];
}

In the simulator, the ads will load test ads from the Apple servers. This is a reliable way to know if the code is working. They sometimes fail to load, which is helpful for testing (maybe it’s intentional?). When the app launches in the AppStore, it will load real ads.

Summary

iTunes Connect has report features that allow you to see how your apps are doing as far as ads’ loading, displaying, user clicks, and revenues. There also is a lot of good information in the Provisioning Portal, the Apple Developer site, iOS forums, and many other places. I encourage you to get out there, see how people are solving problems and sharing solutions, and learn as much as you can. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. iOS developers tend to very helpful.

Here are some other Manning titles you might be interested in:

Creating iPhone Apps
Lou Franco

Quick & Easy iPhone Programming
Bintu Harwani

Objective-C Fundamentals
Christopher K. Fairbairn, Johannes Fahrenkrug, and Collin Ruffenach

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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Manning

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