App ads could creep into Play Store search recommendations
These are not yet targeted ads
For many months now, the Google Play Store has limited ads to side-scrolling carousels in various tabs, labeled as Suggested for you. Perhaps due to the ever-increasing need to make the most of the Play Store’s monetization potential, Google has been spotted testing ads for specific apps placed directly in the Play Store’s search box.
When you open the Google Play Store and tap the search bar at the top to go directly to an app, you’ll usually see four of the most recent searches below the bar. Tapping on any of these recent searches reopens them for you. 9to5Google reports that ads from three different apps are replacing these search history entries on version 33.0.17-21 of the app delivery platform. Search history returns as soon as you type the first character of your query, with autocomplete suggestions following.
We don’t see ads in Play Store search on our devices yet, but Google might run an A/B test for them. Interestingly, the report states that the individual has never interacted with the advertised apps, and they are all games – Summoners War: Chronicles, Call of Duty Mobile Season 10 and Fishdom Solitaire. Call of Duty is a popular title frequently advertised in the Suggestions for You section of the Games tab of the Play Store, but its placement in search suggestions is new.
These ads might help people discover new apps, but they don’t appear to target individual users based on their browsing history. There is little chance that an ad positioned like this will captivate a user intending to search for a specific application. Perhaps adjusting their visibility to persist when entering the search query will help those ads gain traction. If you’re looking for more organic app suggestions, we suggest you take a look at our picks for the best apps on the Play Store this year.