As reported by 9to5Mac, it looks like Apple is testing out a new way to incorporate ads for apps in the App Store in the iOS 14.5 beta. An advertised app is now appearing as the first suggested app when you head to the Search tab in the App Store app.
Previously, Apple only showed ads in the App Store when users searched for an app with advertisers bidding on keywords, similar to Google Search ads. This new ad type is naturally more prominent as it displays to the user before they search anything at all.
As noted in the report, Apple appears to be searching for additional ways to build up its App Store ads business.
App Store Search Ads are a small but growing slice of Apple’s overall Services revenue. App Store Search ads launched in 2016, with Apple seeking new revenue growth areas in services beyond the 15-30% cut Apple receives on paid apps and in-app purchases.
Apple has been experimenting with other areas to place ads in iOS as well. Recently, the company began advertising its free trials of services like Apple TV+ and Apple Fitness+ in the Settings app, a move that was spotted and vilified by some users like The Verge’s Nilay Patel.
Since this advertising space showed up as part of the iOS 14.5 beta, it is unclear if it will actually remain once the public version of iOS 14.5 is released. It is currently unclear just when the latest version of iOS 14 will be released to everyone.