It's official: Ads are coming to the iPhone app store -- here's what they look like

Ads are coming to Apple’s App Store for iPhones and iPads, the company announced on Wednesday.

Soon, paid search ads will show up when users search for a new app. For example, hypothetically, Uber could pay to show up as the top search result for “taxi” or “car service.”

Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president, told the Telegraph that the paid search ads will be chosen on an auction system like Google’s AdWords, and advertisers can choose specific demographics to target.

Apple will only display one ad per search, and it will be clearly marked with a blue background. Here’s what the ads will look like:

That blue box means that the app — in this example, LightRight — has paid for the placement. It’s also clearly marked with “Ad.”

Apple announced the change in a blog post on Wednesday:

Search Ads is an efficient and easy way for you to promote your app directly within the U.S. App Store search results, helping customers discover or reengage with your app, while respecting their privacy. Starting this summer, you’ll be able to participate in the Search Ads beta and see the ads in action.

On its website, Apple played up the possibility that these paid ads could help unpopular apps find a niche: “Various targeting features will enable deeper discovery of apps, including lesser known or niche apps.”

Apple’s App Store has been undergoing several changes since Schiller took the department over from online services boss Eddy Cue in December, and paid ad placement had been rumoured as one of his first major changes, most notably in an article from Bloomberg. In an interview with the Verge, Schiller said the App Store had a “renewed focus and energy.”

Paid apps will be trialed by developers and beta testers over the summer, and search ads might start showing up on user iPhones in the fall.

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