Google is pushing more ads in app listings in the Play Store

Google seems to have suddenly realized that the Play Store can contribute a lot more to its advertising business than it currently does. The company has been aggressively advertising on its app store lately. The latest move gives more prominence to ads in the Recommended for you section of app listings.

You may know that once you start downloading a new app, the Google Play Store adds a set of recommended apps below the Install button. The apps shown in this row are ads that Google will show you in a targeted manner, depending on which app you just downloaded. Until recently, this section used to show three apps on the screen at once. You can swipe to view more. These listings contained simple app icons with the name and Play Store rating. This ad row looked essentially the same as the “Similar apps/games” and “Related to this app” rows.

However, some users have noticed that the “Recommended for you” section has grown significantly recently. Google made two big changes here. First, instead of a single line of ads disguised as recommendations, the Play Store now shows two lines (via Android Police). In addition, the entries are now equipped with a banner. So, in addition to the app icon, name, and rating, you’ll also see a wider banner. Because the banner is wide, you now only see two elements at a time. However, two lines mean that Google will show four ads on your screen at the same time. This aggressive push covers more screen space with ads than before.

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The Google Play Store shows ads in places you can least imagine

For a company that makes most of its money from selling ads, it’s understandable that they want to show users as many ads as possible. But Google might be getting a little too aggressive with ads on the Play Store. It does this by showing ads in places you least imagine, including in search suggestions.

Ads in Play Store search suggestions first began showing to some users in November last year. At the time, the company said it was an “organic discovery feature” that proactively recommends apps to users when they’re searching for something. The apps that appear in the suggestions aren’t paid ads, but may include “big updates, ongoing events, or offers” that may be of interest to you.

However, last month Google replaced those proactive recommendations with paid ads. Users reported seeing multiple ads in Play Store search suggestions. Now the company is also giving more importance to ads in app listings. None of these changes have been rolled out across the board yet. However, it won’t be long before Google makes this ad-supported Play Store available to everyone.

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May 26, 2023