Monday, October 31, 2022

App Store Ads in Today and App Pages


Apple Search Ads makes it easy to promote your app on the App Store. 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.

Joe Rossignol:

This marks the first time that developers will be able to run ads in the Today tab, which until now has only displayed content handpicked from the App Store’s editorial staff, without any paid placement. And with the “You Might Also Like” section, developers will now be able to promote their apps on other apps’ pages.


App Store ads were previously limited to search results based on keywords and the “Suggested” section of the Search tab. With ads in the Today tab and the “You Might Also Like” section, the App Store will now offer four advertising options in total.

Joe Rossignol:

I don’t like Apple expanding ads on the iPhone. In my view, one of the benefits of the expensive Apple ecosystem is supposed to be a premium experience where the customer is not the product.

Florian Mueller:

The only thing I wish to clarify for accuracy’s sake is that app developers can’t even buy ads on their own app pages for defensive purposes the way many brands do on Google. That doesn’t make it any better, but it is something I wanted to explain.


In the anti-steering context (the injunction Epic Games won against Apple last year was an anti-anti-steering injunction), Apple always suggests that if app developers could point users to alternative payment options, it would be as unacceptable as if competing resellers could promote their stores in an official Apple Store and steer customers away. But that is just what Apple’s ads on app pages are all about, except that Apple makes money that way. Those app pages should be controlled by app makers--not that they could do anything they want on that page, but at least that no one else can do anything there--without their consent--that harms them.

Turner Novak (via Hacker News):

Apple executed its privacy marketing campaign beautifully. In the name of consumer privacy, it was able to box out competitors from using its first party device data, giving itself exclusive access to better target ads (Facebook, etc can still do this, its just harder). […] Apple is setting the stage to build all the same products it kneecapped: marketing tools for the long-tail of SMBs.


Hopefully I’ve made it clear that Apple has a LOT of unmonetized digital real estate. It needs to be careful as it chooses where to monetize with ads (personally I don’t get excited about ads on my lock screen), but operating system-level ads have always been in the cards for iOS. A patent filed in 2009 hints at premium “lock screen”-like and contextual “your printer ink is low, refill it here” ads.


Archiving a new build for the App Store now gives you this?!

Dave B:

With this Services push, Apple has lost its North Star.

It’s not just the overt ads, but also the entire way apps are designed, where Apple brands ads as “curation” to fool users into thinking they’re not ads (see the Music, TV, & Podcasts apps).

James Thomson:

It’s hard to see this drop in services growth, and not imagine that’s what’s been driving the recent increases in advertising.


Update (2022-11-30): Michael Gartenberg (via Hacker News):

The App store is, sadly, no longer the jewel of Apple’s ecosystem. These days, it seems to be more about maximizing Apple’s revenue than serving customers or helping developers flourish.

Sami Fathi (tweet):

A new report has revealed internal disagreement within Apple, causing some employees who work on the company's ads business to raise concerns that showing more ads to iPhone users ruins the premium experience that's been long offered to its customers, The Information reports.

See also: Reddit (via Dave).

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

I find it interesting that you aren’t allowed to use a competitor’s brand name as a keyword in your App’s metadata but if you pay Apple $5, $15, $20 for a tap, you can use it as a Search Ad keyword no problem. Everything is unethical unless Apple’s getting paid.

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