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Apple’s App Store ads are now everywhere and much harder to avoid

Apple is now showing App Store users more advertisements, even when they aren’t actively searching for apps to download.

Since 2016, Apple has enabled app developers to effectively sponsor search results to put their apps at the top of the listings, albeit with posts clearly labelled as ads.

So, for example, if you search for “football” on a US iPhone, you’ll see Madden NFL 23 at the top, even though it’s organically the top result and sits just below the ad. In many cases, the ad might help the developer attract more downloads simply because it’s the first app users see.

The company also shows advertisements within the Search tab, even before App Store users go looking for specific content. Right now I can see one for TikTok, for example.

From now, Apple says ads will start appearing within the Today tab, which has been the company’s editorial page where it features noteworthy new apps, games and themed collections that may be of use to iPhone and iPad owners.

The ads will also appear within more specific product pages, meaning there’ll be an influx of advertisements throughout the store, even if they’re easily distinguishable from the organic listings. Or, as Apple says in its pitch to developers, users will see the ads “when they start,” “when they search” and “while they browse”.

“Apple Search Ads makes it easy to promote your app on the App Store,” Apple says (via 9to5Mac) on its development website. “And now with new Today tab and product page ad placements, you can drive discovery of your app in more moments across the App Store — when customers first arrive, search for something specific, and browse apps to download.”

The update comes after Apple increased subscription prices for Apple Music, Apple TV+ and Apple One bundles earlier this week. Seems the revenue from services might get another big boost the next time the company releases its earnings.

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