After a couple of reports that Apple was planning this expansion, Apple today notified developers that they can sign up for their app to be advertised on the main page of the App Store search tab.
After testing the program with select partners during the beta period of iOS 14.5, Apple now opens the program to all developers and invites them to “be seen before you search.”
Previously, developers could pay to appear as the top search result for searches in the App Store. The new type of ad campaign allows apps to appear as the top promoted result in the prominent suggested section of the search tab, which appears before the user actually enters a search query. Ads appear at the top of the Suggested section outlined by a blue background to indicate that the developer paid for the placement.
Competing ad networks have argued that Apple is unfairly exercising its dominant position as platform owner to give its ad network an advantage. For example, users can automatically choose to share their usage and demographic data with the Apple ad network. This default enabled setting is currently being reviewed by European regulators.
It also comes as Apple faces backlash over the introduction of Ad Tracking Transparency, a new policy that means apps must get explicit permission if they want to share user data collected in the app with third parties such as ad networks. . Ad networks fear that too many people are refusing to share data and that their ability to monetize will be significantly affected.
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