Apple expanding App Store ads from search to ‘Today’ tab and more

Apple is expanding its advertising business and adding two new ad slots to the App Store. Currently, the App Store has two ad slots: one on the main ‘Search’ tab and one in the Search results. The two new App Store ads announced today will bring advertisements to the App Store ‘Today’ homepage, as well as to individual app pages.

App Store ads are coming to more places

The new advertising placements in the App Store will allow developers to place ads outside of the Search tab and Search results. First and foremost, there is a new advertising slot coming to the “Today” homepage of the App Store. This spot, as seen in the image above, is located in the second slot on the Today page.

Apple notes that the rest of the Today tab will remain focused on curation and discovery – the ad spot will be clearly marked as an ad using the same blue banner/background as Search ads. This is obviously going to be a quite lucrative ad placement for both Apple and developers, as it is right on the page users see when they first open the App Store.

The second new advertising placement is coming directly to product pages themselves. This means that developers will now be able to place ads on the product pages for other apps. This spot is located at the very bottom of the product page, beneath the banner section that shows other apps by that developer.

Developers won’t be able to target a specific application when bidding for product page ad placement. For instance, Twitter wouldn’t be able to target Tweetbot specifically. The ads, however, will be relevant for each of the product pages. This means you could (and probably will) see ads for direct competitors on app pages.

In a statement, Apple explained that these new advertising placements give developers an additional way to target and reach new customers, while still adhering to Apple’s privacy commitment:

Apple Search Ads provides opportunities for developers of all sizes to grow their business. Like our other advertising offerings, these new ad placements are built upon the same foundation—they will only contain content from apps’ approved App Store product pages, and will adhere to the same rigorous privacy standards.

Ron Schneidermann, CEO of the popular app AllTrails, had this to say in a statement:

Apple Search Ads helped us attract new, more engaged customers across markets. We rely on Apple Search Ads for cost-effective customer acquisition – it’s a critical component of our growth strategy. As they become available, we plan to invest in new placements to reach even more customers on the App Store and continue to drive our business growth.

The new ad placements will start appearing in the App Store soon for testing, but there are no details on when exactly this will happen.

App Store ads privacy

Apple allows users to easily opt out of personalized ads the first time when you open one of its apps. Currently, Apple shows advertising in the News app, the App Store, and the Stocks app.

In fact, Apple said earlier this year that roughly 78% of iOS 15 users opt out of personalized ads. According to Apple, this has no impact on conversions or effectiveness. The company explained that advertisers saw a 62.1% conversion rate from customers who opted in to personalized ads in Q1, compared to a conversation rate of 62.5% among users who opted out.

The new ad placements come with the same privacy protections as Apple’s other first-party ads. This includes not targeting individuals or small groups, but rather only segments made up of at least 5,000 users. The company also does not create individual user profiles across its apps and services. Instead, it relies on random identifiers.

9to5Mac’s Take: Google Play Store comparison

As covered by our colleagues over at 9to5Google multiple times, the Google Play Store shows a number of adds. This includes in the “For You” tab of the app, as well as on product page listings and in search results. In the Play Store, ads generally show a number of different apps and take up multiple rows of content. They are labeled as ads, but not as clearly as what Apple does in the App Store.

With today’s announcement, Apple now offers App Store ad placements in spots similar to the Play Store. Apple’s implementation is much cleaner and well thought out than in the Play Store. It’s also much clearer in the App Store what’s an ad versus what’s curation.

Additionally, the product page ads in the Play Store are located further up than in the App Store. This means you see the ads before you see other apps created by the same developer.

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