Apple has always prided itself on the sleek, uncluttered look and feel of its proprietary apps — but introducing even more ads into the App Store risks undermining the company’s typically clean approach to the user experience.
Starting October 25, 2022, app-related ads will begin appearing on the App Store Today tab and in a new ‘You might also like’ section at the foot of individual app listings.
Apple announced the change in a recent email sent to developers (for MacRumors (opens in new tab)), and confirmed in its web site (opens in new tab) that App Store users in all countries except China will be affected by the increased ad presence.
Ads on the App Store are currently limited to the Search tab – but even here, they are often intrusive and often unrelated to what users actually want to download. App Store ads take up almost the entire first page of any search, which means less impressive (read: bad) apps get more visibility over objectively better alternatives.
Additionally, under Apple’s existing ad system, companies can buy all ad space for a specific ad name and have their product rank above the named app that users are looking for. Search for ‘Temple Run’, for example, and the first app you’ll see is an ad for Run Bear Run.
The new system will now see these ads appear on the main Today tab of the App Store, as well as in Search. The Today tab is Apple’s hub for editorial content, where the App Store team curates a handpicked selection of apps based on seasonal themes and trends.
The ads in question will still be identifiable by a distinctive background and visible ‘Ad’ icon, although it looks like they’ll be given just as much space as editorialized sections in the Today tab (see example below from Apple).
More ads are coming in other places too.
Apple first announced plans to increase the presence of ads on its App Store in July, confirming that these new ads “will only contain content from app-approved App Store product pages and adhere to the same strict privacy standards.”
The move also appears to pave the way for similar ad expansions in other Apple apps. Earlier this year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported (opens in new tab) that Apple expects to nearly triple its current annual advertising revenue to at least $10 billion in the future.
Banner ads already exist in Apple’s News and Stocks apps, but the company is expected to launch similar ads on Apple Maps as early as 2023.
For more App Store related content, check out our reports on Apple’s new program to help lesser-known app developers and the cryptocurrency controversy facing Apple and Google.