Ads in the Today tab will appear in the larger card format used by other content in that tab, but you’ll see a small blue box with the word “Ad” inside it under the app’s name. Ads in individual app pages will appear under the “You Might Also Like” header that suggests apps related to the one you’re looking at. Like in App Store search, ads on app pages will be highlighted in blue to distinguish them from other recommendations. According to 9to5Mac, ad buyers won’t be able to target specific applications for these ads, but the ads will be relevant to the app they’re shown under.
“Apple Search Ads provides opportunities for developers of all sizes to grow their business,” Apple said in a statement to MacRumors, 9to5Mac, and AppleInsider. “Like our other advertising offerings, these new ad placements are built upon the same foundation—they will only contain content from apps’ approved App Store product pages, and will adhere to the same rigorous privacy standards.” The company plans to begin testing the new ads soon. Apple didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Apple first started showing ads in App Store search results in 2016 and began asking users for their permission to enable Personalized Ads in September. The new ad spots indicate that Apple is exploring new ways to make money from the App Store and that ads could become a more important pillar for the company as it continues to grow its services business. Unfortunately for us, though, the new ads mean we’re going to have to sift through more annoying blue boxes.