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article imageApple all set to bring adverts to the App Store

By James Walker     Jun 9, 2016 in Technology
Apple has announced that app developers will soon be able to pay to get their product promoted in the App Store's search results, confirming previous rumours. It said it is making the controversial change to help developers engage with more users.
News of the feature first leaked back in April. Yesterday, the company officially announced it is bringing ads to the App Store, letting developers expose their app to more people than is possible when relying on natural searches.
Called Search Ads, the feature will launch in the fall with an update to the App Store. Developers will be able to pay Apple to get their app promoted at the top of search results related to their product.
To make ads obvious to users, Apple said only one promoted app will be displayed per search. It will always sit at the top of search results and will have a pale blue background to stand out from the regular list. A small "Ad" badge will be placed next to the developer's name to ensure users are aware it is being displayed automatically.
Users won't see ads for apps they already have installed. Apple will provide developers with "various targeting features" so they can choose to expose their app only to relevant demographics. The company said ads will only be displayed when they are directly relevant to a user's search, stating "if an ad is not relevant to what the user is looking for, it will not be shown in the ad spot regardless of how much you are willing to pay."
Apple said Search Ads is designed to help developers promote their app while retaining a safe environment for users. The company claimed the feature "sets a new standard" for protecting user privacy while delivering tailored adverts relevant to each customer.
According to Apple, 65 percent of all app downloads are driven by direct searches from within the App Store. Search Ads will allow developers to maximise the visibility of their app and reach even more potential customers who could find it useful.
Apple also announced another new App Store feature for developers. Creators of apps across all categories will soon be able to offer automatically renewing subscriptions to customers, letting them choose their own business model and charge customers as appropriate.
An automatically renewing subscription could make sense for apps published by newspapers, online gaming networks and streaming services. Developers will now be able to collect payment for these kinds of apps directly from the App Store, rather than using their own infrastructure within the app.
The two changes combined will be welcomed by app developers who have been calling for a revamp of the App Store's search facility for some time. Additional changes in the works include more regular refreshes of promoted homepage content and a decrease in app approval times. 50 percent of new apps are now reviewed within 24 hours of submission to the store, according to Apple's VP of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller.
Apple said the new features will begin to roll out in the App Store later this year. Search Ads will launch in beta in the U.S. in the summer ahead of public availability in the fall. There is currently no timeline for auto-renewing subscriptions.
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