In an apparent attempt to better compete with Facebook and others in the mobile advertising market, Google is now running ads in its mobile app store, Google Play.
The change, which Google revealed in a blog post, isn’t all that surprising. With its search-driven ads, Google effectively proved that digital advertising could be an enormous business. And yet, as the world has made the shift to mobile, Google’s search revenue growth has slowed, forcing the tech giant to seek out new avenues of expansion, including everything from self-driving car technology to wearables. Compared to these moonshot projects, moving into the world of app advertising should be a much simpler transition.
The Google Play store already reaches more than one billion people on Android devices, according to Google’s blog post. The company also says it has paid out $7 billion over the last year to developers who distribute their apps in the store. In other words, the Play Store is already a darn good place for developers, and now, Google wants to make it more appealing—and more lucrative for Google.
By enabling developers to promote their apps in the Play store, Google is competing head-on with Facebook, a company whose success in the mobile advertising space has a lot to do with its app install ads. According to The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, that’s one reason why this week, Google acquired Toro a startup that makes Facebook ads for developers.
An app store is, perhaps, one of the few places where ads are welcomed by consumers. With an ever growing sea of options, ads can help narrow a smartphone user’s search, just as they have with traditional search. Other platforms, like Pinterest, are also trying to solve this problem, recently announcing a partnership with Apple, which allows iPhone users to save apps to their Pinterest boards and install them directly from Pinterest. Though Pinterest said it wasn’t planning to monetize that feature just yet, there’s little doubt that apps will soon be part of Pinterest’s own advertising efforts in the near future.
Google, for its part, plans to roll out Google Play ads slowly, according to the company blog post. For now, they’re only available to a select group of advertisers, with plans to expand the platform in the coming months.