Put plainly, the smartphone market exists as it does today because of Apple’s App Store. Period. Smartphones had existed for more than a decade before the iPhone was released in 2007. Apps existed for more than a decade before the App Store rolled out a year later. But the iPhone changed the way people used their smartphones and the App Store made expanding their capabilities far simpler than it had been in the past. But Apple’s on-device app portal has had a big problem since the early days that Apple hasn’t been able to find a solution for. The company has finally rolled out a big change that we’ve all been expected, but it’s not yet clear whether Apple helped matters or hurt them.
Finding good apps in the App Store is not easy. In fact, depending on what type of app you’re looking for, it can be next to impossible. The popularity of third-party apps created an entirely new industry and developers swarmed to it. Of course, not all of those developers are interested in or even capable of making high-quality apps. As a result, Apple’s App Store quickly became flooded with content that made finding all of the high-quality apps in the store extremely difficult.
Things have improved recently, but there is no perfect solution. To this day you can often search the exact name of an app you’re looking for and still not find it without having to scroll past a dozen or more other apps. Just now, a search for “Twitter” yielded two apps in the first 15 results that haven’t even been updated for the new user interface Apple introduced in 2013 with iOS 7. While Apple continues its work to fix the issue, the company also continues to work on better monetizing the App Store. And so this week, as VentureBeat notes, the company began rolling out its new search ads product.
Developers are now able to purchase ads that will display at the top of results when users search for specific terms. Although people’s knee-jerk reaction is to resist anything that involves advertising, this actually could end up being a good thing.
App Store ads thus far in these early days have been mixed as a flock of developers rushes to try them out. In the long term though, Apple’s new ad platform could theoretically end up being a good thing if it’s utilized by top developers who build high-quality apps and can afford to spend more on advertising.