Google seems to have suddenly realized that the Play Store can contribute a lot more to its ad business than it currently does. The company has been aggressively pushing ads on its app store lately. The latest move sees ads getting more prominence under the “Suggested for you” section of app listings.
You may be aware that the Google Play Store adds a row of suggested apps below the install button as soon as you start downloading a new app. The apps shown in this row are ads that Google selectively pushes to you based on which app you just downloaded. Until recently, this section showed three apps on the screen at a time, you can swipe to see more. These listings featured simple app icons with the name and Play Store rating. This row of ads essentially appeared the same as the rows for “Similar apps/games” and “Related to this app”.
However, some users have noticed that the “Suggested for you” section has grown a lot bigger recently. Google has made two big changes here. Firstly, instead of a single row of ads disguised as recommendations, Play Store now shows two rows (via Android Police). Moreover, the listings now come with a banner. So along with the app icon, name, and rating, you see a wider banner as well. Since the banner is wide, you now only see two items at a time. But two rows means that Google is pushing four ads to your screen at once. This aggressive push covers more screen space with ads than before.
Google Play Store is showing ads in places you least imagine
For a company that makes the vast majority of its money by selling ads, it’s understandable that it would want to show users as many ads as possible. But Google may be getting a little too aggressive with ads in the Play Store. It’s showing ads in places you least imagine, including in search suggestions.
Ads in Play Store search suggestions first started appearing for some users in November last year. Back then, the company said it was an “organic discovery feature” that proactively recommends apps to users as they are about to search for something. The apps that appear in suggestions aren’t paid ads, but instead, they may have “major updates, ongoing events, or offers” that you may be interested in.
However, last month, Google replaced those proactive recommendations with paid ads. Users reported seeing multiple ads in search suggestions in the Play Store. Now, the company giving more prominence to ads under app listings as well. Neither of these changes is rolling out widely yet. But Google may not take much longer to bring this ad-laden Play Store to everyone.
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