First announced at Apple's Worldwide Development Conference (WWDC) earlier this year before being rolled out for beta testing over the summer, adverts are coming to Apple's App Store from October 5.
Called Search Ads (opens in new tab), these adverts start working when you search a keyword in the App Store search bar. Depending on what you've searched for, ads for relevant apps will appear at the top of your search results.
According to Apple, over 65 per cent of app downloads via the App Store come from search results so spending some money to put your app at the top of the results list could prove to be a good move, particularly if the process is as easy as Apple claims.
Spend money to make money
Setting up a Search Ad can apparently be done in "a few easy steps", with developers retaining complete control over how much money they wish to put behind the ad, the kind of audience they want to target, and insight into the numbers coming from placing the ad.
Being as simple as it is, Search Ads could be especially useful for small independent developers that are trying to get their app noticed by potential customers. If app download numbers do actually depend quite so heavily on the search results page as Apple says, a couple of days at the top of the results list could be all a genuinely good indie app needs to boost its popularity.
In an attempt to keep the playing ground more even, Apple is ensuring that popular developers with larger marketing budgets can't abuse the service by targeting popular terms with app ads that are irrelevant to a user's search. For example, you won't find an Angry Birds ad when searching for fitness apps.
The relevance algorithm is also being implemented for the sake of app store customers who won't have to worry about scrolling through pointless and irrelevant apps before seeing the results they actually asked for.
To make sure not safe for work apps don't manage to crawl their way to the top of the results, Apple has also put together a content policy list (opens in new tab) which advertisers must comply with before their app will be featured.
Though app store users won't see ads until October 5, Apple is allowing developers to set up their campaigns from now, incentivizing US developers by offering them $100 credit towards their first use of the service.