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Google to Show Sponsored Apps in Google Play Search Results – Will eBooks Be Next?

Attachment-1[1]Google has long sold the lead spots in its search results to advertisers, and now they’re expanding that practice to Google Play.

The ad network has announced that some time in the next few weeks it will be running a pilot test of a new sponsored results feature. App developers will have the chance to pay to get their app promoted to the first place in the search results.

Google says the pilot will be shown to a limited number of users, who will begin to see adverts from a pilot group of advertisers which were already buying Google search ads for their apps.

You can see a couple examples in the GIF at right.

So is anyone surprised by the news? I’m not.

We might call Google a tech company, but in reality they get most of their revenue from selling adverts. And like any news publisher can tell you, one can only sell so many ads before running out of space.

Once that happens, the only way to boost revenue is to either charge more for ads (which often isn’t possible) or to sell ad placement nestled among the content. In the case of a news site, this would be called native advertising. Google, on the other hand, is calling it sponsored search results.

Google has been selling the lead spots in its organic search results for years and years. The ads have always been marked as ads, but that doesn’t change the fact that the first results you see went to the highest bidder.

So how long before Google expands this to include the other content it sells in Google Play? They also sell movies, music, and ebooks, and while that doesn’t amount to a whole lot of revenue there’s still some money to be made there.

Do you suppose authors and publishers would be interested?

Google via AndroidCentral

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Sorin February 26, 2015 um 2:02 pm

So let me get this straight: Google is charging app makers (and possibly book publishers) for promoting their apps and then charges them again with the sale comission (30% if I remember correctly) , and then again for in-app purchases?
Sounds like only big software companies will really be able to turn some profits in Play store…

Nate Hoffelder February 26, 2015 um 2:05 pm

They’ll have the option of bidding for the space. The highest bid wins.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) February 26, 2015 um 2:13 pm

I recently wrote google play and asked about ad ops. Was told there were none at this time.

That said, I have stopped using google search. GOOD GADS, PEOPLE. It’s next to useless. The first 5 are ads on EVERY page. If you google a company by name, it’s shoved halfway down the page and somehow Amazon, Sears, Ebay, etc will be listed first. You can’t even FIND niche sellers. I had switched a long while back and then lost my profile during an upgrade. When I got everything installed, it was defaulted to Yahoo search–useless. I tried google for fun. Useless.

I am seeing a lot of "ad desperation" lately. Companies are not trying to sell products, but boy, they sure are trying to sell ads.

Nate Hoffelder February 26, 2015 um 3:06 pm

And that’s why I use an ad blocker. It cuts the ad spam in half.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) February 26, 2015 um 3:08 pm

I have ad blocker too. But I still get pretty useless search returns from those two these days. I was researching some smaller companies this past weekend and it was hard to get info via search engines. Too many sponsored placements!

Paolo Amoroso February 27, 2015 um 9:05 am

In at least one Google property it has actually already been possible for some time to serve ads for paid Google Play content (currently apps/games, books, music, magazines, and movies). Play Newsstand editions can serve ads that enable in-app purchases of Play items, such as books.

Disclosure: I’m a Google Top Contributor in the Newsstand Producer Help Forum.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) February 27, 2015 um 9:24 am

Interesting. I assumed there were some opportunities, but the cs person I emailed didn’t know of any. And it’s possible they don’t open their ads to just anyone as well. Generally speaking when I do buy an ad, I do it on a book blog (targeted audience.)

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