Google will now display a label which tells its users whether or not an app contains an ad on the Google Play Store, reports TechCrunch. This label is in addition to existing designations of in-app purchases on the Play Store. The report displays a screenshot from Reddit which we’re unable to reproduce, so likely Google is testing this in a limited environment. However, TechCrunch says that Google confirmed the move to it and will be rolling out the change globally over the next 2 weeks across all app categories.
Last April, the company announced a developer program called ‘Designed for families’ which would let app publishers go for an additional review to mark their apps as family friendly and a month after that, it unveiled the program at its I/O Developer Conference. The TC report adds that later in the year, it asked all Android developers to respond to whether their apps had ads or not in order to be more transparent and “help consumers make more informed decisions.”
Google’s Agawi acquisition
Last June, Google bought a startup called Agawi which allowed users to stream and use apps before purchasing them. Other than Android, Agawi could also stream Windows PC games to an Android or iOS handset and connected TVs. We said at the time that Agawi’s tech would probably let Google make mobile web more app-like before downloading, given than Google’s major revenues came from search and ads on search.
Search biggest driver of app installs, paid app ads on the Play Store
Even before that, in February 2015, Google said that it would pilot app promotions on the Play Store, essentially bringing advertising to a platform that it was only monetizing with paid transactions earlier. With the Android business, it was essentially monetizing earlier via paid transactions on the Play Store, and allowing the integration of AdMob within apps. In August 2015, the company introduced Search Ads in the Google Play Store for advertisers and developers who used the Search app install campaign on their AdWords account. The company claimed that search is one of the biggest drivers of app installs in the Play Store.
At the time, Google claimed that Google Play reached over 1 billion people on Android devices across 190 countries and Search Ads would help them discover apps they could have missed.
This is an interesting move from Google. Displaying that an app contains ads would definitely make discerning users think twice about installing that app. But on a large scale of Android users, it is unlikely to drive down app installations based on the fact that apps have ads in them. Ultimately, if a user really wants an app, they will download the app regardless of whether or not there are ads in it.
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Our Google coverage.