Apple Confirms it Will Sell Mobile App Install Ads

Ahead of WWDC 2016 next week, Apple has confirmed in an interview with The Verge on Thursday that it will begin selling search ads in the App Store later this Summer.

Apple app install ads will be similar to those pushed by Google and Facebook now, a serious revenue source for both. Facebook alone nets roughly 10-20% of ad revenue from these ads, per a report on Re/code. Though Google doesn’t publish revenue figures for these ad formats, based on their intention to expand them to iOS this year, and their recent announcement of two billion downloads pushed through mobile ads, it is likely significant.

Google already shows their app install ads within the Play store, something they’ve done since 2015. It’s a captive audience—but one that is downloading less new apps than ever before—and one that Apple has previously done nothing to monetize with advertising in the past.

Then again, Apple has a rocky history with advertising. After initially keeping their mobile iAd network limited to top-tier clientele, the company went all-in with ad sales and programmatic solutions, both of which were later shuttered after little success. Eventually, Apple reverted back to publisher-direct sales for iAd and select placements on Apple News as the full extent of the network’s offering. 

To play devil’s advocate, Apple app install ads do at least have the advantage of being specifically designated for the App Store, a destination ripe with engagement opportunity. In addition, a paid search, keyword-based approach to Apple’s newest form of advertising isn’t going out on a limb (see: the continued popularity of SEM).

No word on what Apple’s paid search buying interface will look like, or when exactly the app install ads will launch; however, with WWDC in just a few days, expect to hear more about this ad product next week.

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