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The App Store will now show you an ad before you even run that search query

Developers can now “reach users even before they search” with a new ad slot on the App Store.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Apple creates a new ad slot for the App Store.
  • The ads show up under the Search tab.
  • The ads appear before you search.
  • This is in addition to existing search ads.

The App Store’s Search tab has a new ad slot

Apple announced the new ad slot in a post on the Apple Developer website:

Apple Search Ads has always made it easy to promote your apps at the top of relevant search results on the App Store. Now you can reach users even before they search with an ad placement on the Search tab. It’s a simple and effective way to help users discover your apps.

This new, prominent placement on the App Store’s Search tab is in addition to the current search ads that appear in your search results after you have run a query.

The App Store monetization with ads

Apple first implemented ads on the App Store back in June 2016, offering developers ways to promote their offerings with search ads that appear as the first entry in search results after the user has run a search query.

And now with the new slot added to the Search tab, customers will see an ad under the “Suggested” section before they even run a search term through the store. Whether or not that elevates the experience for everyone remains to be seen, but we’re skeptical.

→ How to see all your App Store ratings and reviews

On the surface of it, developers get new paid ad slots to promote their apps that users otherwise might miss. But dig a little bit deeper and you start to see that listing an ad—clearly marked as an advertisement—under a section with app recommendations is not a smart move.

Apple disagrees, of course, stating that these new ads appear at the top of the suggested apps list because that apparently “helps drive awareness and downloads.”

Disabling Apple’s ad targeting

You can disable targeted advertising in Settings → Privacy → Apple Advertising by turning off the option labeled “Personalized Apps.” Doing so won’t remove ads from the App Store, it will simply disable ad targeting so the ads you see will be less relevant than with ad targeting.

Speaking of ads, Apple recently rolled out search suggestions in the App Store. With this feature, users who search on the App Store will see suggested search terms related to what they’re looking for. These suggested words can be then selected to further refine your search.

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