This morning, Google launched the company’s pilot program on the Google Play Store. The program allows developers to advertise their apps directly in the Play Store listing. Currently, this new feature is only available to advertisers already using Google AdWords. The company states that ads will only be displayed when a search is made and not in other areas of the Play Store.
The mobile app ads will work just like AdWords where advertisers will bid on certain search query keywords. For example, advertisers can bid on “coupon app” and their advert will be displayed.
Ads are displayed at the top of the search results and look nearly identical to a normal listing except for the “Ad” text underneath the app’s name. The company has stated that their goal is to allow smaller app developers to compete against popular apps that are often displayed first.
Currently, the addition of app ads will only be shown on Android smartphones. A small percentage of mobile users will have the ads displayed and no ads will appear when searching from a tablet. Advertisers were invited to participate in the program during its pilot run and will be receiving ads for free at this time.
App developers are stressing their concerns that click fraud issues may run rampant on the Play Store. No word has been given on how Google will attempt to combat click fraud. Concerns over the way that advertising effects normal searches is also a big issue. Developers are unsure of how paid advertisements will change search results, or if they will only count as paid downloads and not change the search results.
The pilot program is currently only available to a select few advertisers personally invited by Google. The company has stressed that current Google advertisers will be given priority when additional developers are added to the pilot testing phase.