Apple Adding Ads to App Store Today View and Individual App Listings

Sami Fathi, MacRumors:

As part of those efforts, the first new ad opportunity will be within the Today tab – the front page of the App Store. With Today App Store ads, developers will be able to promote their apps right alongside the daily editorial content by the App Store team. Ads are clearly marked as ads and are distinguishable from the normal editorial App Store stories. The Today tab is the first tab that’s pre-loaded when the App Store app is opened and was introduced as part of the App Store redesign in 2017.

The second new ad placement for developers in the App Store will be directly within app product pages. Ads will appear under the “You Might Also Like” section towards the bottom of the page and will also be clearly marked as ads.

This coverage sounds a little too fluffy to me — too much like it came directly from Apple. It is hard to know for sure because, while this news was reported by several Apple-focused publications including 9to5Mac and Apple Insider, not one of them acknowledged its sourcing. As of writing, this news has not landed on Apple’s Newsroom, or in the news feeds of its Developer or Search Ads sections, nor does it appear on the App Store advertising info page. All three Apple-focused publications also cite in their coverage a corporate presentation to advertisers each says it “obtained” in May claiming 78% of App Store search volume came from devices with ad personalization disabled. Curious.

I wish I were able to provide more context but there is little to add because Apple appears to have used these sites to soften this Friday-grade announcement. I still think it looks really bad for Apple to step up its advertising business while taking reasonable steps to improve users’ privacy against marketing technology companies. I also think advertising in the only venue for native iOS apps is tacky and unbecoming. As a user, I feel like my attention is being squeezed by the company that made my expensive phone, that I pay monthly fees to for additional features, and that takes a cut of the subscriptions I pay developers. I get why there are ads in the App Store and I am sure some developers find them useful. As a user, though, it feels gross.