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Last month, Google announced it is going to expand the capability  for developers to buy ads in Play Store. Before now only those in a Test group were permitted to do this. The original test group was a pilot program announced on the 19th of February for only selected developers to buy top placement ads inside the Play Store.

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In emails sent recently to all the developers on its Google platform, it said,

“Search ads are now showing in Google Play for all advertisers and developers who use Search app install ads in Ad words – making it easier for developers to promote their apps right where people are looking for them while providing consumers new ways to discover apps they might otherwise have missed. Learn more. ”

The email went further in a helpfully nice gesture to outline to the developers and advertisers how to maximize the performance of their  products across the ‘Google Search Network,’ including Google Play Store of course. These easy and simple steps include,

  1. Expanding the key words list
  2. The use of targeted CPA automated bidding
  3. Raising campaign budget to maximize exposure
  4. Comparing ‘open rates and install rates’ for the developer’s app.

Again, the email adviced all developers to take full advantage of the procedures comprehensively spelled out in the Mobile App Installs guide.

The bought ads should look similar to the ads placed in Google search where an orange  ‘Ad’  tag is placed beside the ad to make it easily visible at the top of the Google search page. When the pilot program was launched back in February, it was designed specifically for a limited set of users who were already running ads for their apps in Google search. In effect, the pilot was a way to reward those developers

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What does this new development mean for the users of Google Play Store? To us who spend a lot of time on Google Play Store downloading all those amazing free apps, we are now going to be inundated with ads, which frankly speaking can be very annoying at the best of times and rather expensive if you are on a limited data bundle. But there is also an upside to these ads for consumers: with the ads, one can now discover all those awesome apps that are hidden amongst the millions of other apps in Play Store. And to be frank, we do miss a lot of free apps no matter how much time we spend on Play Store searching for and downloading apps. But now, just as in search results in Google, the promoted ad finds its way to the top of the Play Store page and it is marked as ‘Ad’ not to confuse people.

For the developers, this is a development that can be likened to the proverbial double edged sword. If you promote you app, the immediate consequence of this expanded visibility is the possibility of more downloads of your app, and of course, more downloads equals more revenue for the developer. On the other hand, this plays into the hands of developers who have more funds to promote their app. It works like this, the more money you spend, the more visible your app or product becomes. So the richest developers have considerably more advantage. As for those developers who don’t have money to afford ads space, they must continue to promote their products the old fashioned way: mostly through word of mouth and in Internet forums like Facebook among their friends.

For Google Play Store, it is a win-win situation for them. They get to make more money from ads and the increased revenue to developers as a result of more downloads would encourage the developers to roll out upgrades and new apps while the lure of the money to be made can attract new developers to join Play Store.