(CTN News) – Prior to its I/O developer conference in May, Google tested its first Play Store advertisement slot. A public launch of this change would significantly expand the company’s Play Store search ads business by offering developers access to new prime real estate for the marketing of their apps.
Apple made a similar move two years ago with the addition of a new ad slot on the search tab itself, rather than only at the top of search results.
Similarly to Apple, Google is testing an ad slot that appears when Android users access the Play Store’s search menu, where they can enter keywords to locate apps.
First spotted by Android news site, Android Police, the test noted that Google had been testing app “recommendations” in this slot since late last year.
At the time, Google had clarified that those promotions were not advertisements, but rather personalized suggestions.
A similar spot now includes both app recommendations and suggestions that are actually labeled as advertisements. The following Twitter thread provides a few examples. Currently, the ads are not appearing for everyone, suggesting that it is a test.
Multiple users have reported seeing the test in multiple markets worldwide, so it does not appear to be a United States-only update.
An official at Google confirmed the experiment by stating that the company regularly tests new features on the Play Store. In this particular advertisement test, Google did not provide any additional information, perhaps because they did not wish to spoil its planned announcement. The launch date for public release has not been determined yet.
Currently, Google has nothing specific to announce regarding new features or ad formats, which are regularly tested in order to improve app discovery for Play users and aid developers in reaching their audience,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch last week.
A new method of generating revenue from Play Store ads could help Google boost its bottom line at a time when it has been forced to make concessions regarding Play Store commissions.
Google has been implementing third-party billing options across global markets in response to new regulations and legislative pressure.
Developers who do not use Google’s billing services will pay reduced fees. In addition to Spotify, dating app Bumble is also planning to participate in the program.
In the event that the new Play Store search ad slots are widely available, they could have a significant impact on Play Store revenue.
As Apple introduced new ad slots in less prominent locations in the App Store last year, analysts predicted that the change could generate another billion in revenue for the company.
Although Google does not disclose the size of its own Play Store Ads business, it is likely to be a significant amount. In 2021, Statista estimates that Google Play will generate approximately $48 billion through mobile applications. According to unsealed court documents in a Google antitrust case, Google Play app store revenue reached $11.2 billion in 2019.