Apple on Tuesday expanded its search advertising inventory on its App Store to include units for purchase on the Today tab — essentially the front page of the app — and on individual product pages.
The new ad units represent a significant expansion in Apple’s ad inventory, which can only advertise one kind of product: Apps for Apple devices like the iPhone.
The introduction of the new ad units was first announced earlier this year, and comes as Apple’s advertising business has been under additional scrutiny from rivals.
Before Tuesday, Apple’s advertising inventory had been limited to one unit on the search tab, and one on the search results page.
“And now with new Today tab and product page ad placements, you can drive discovery of your app in more moments across the App Store — when customers first arrive, search for something specific, and browse apps to download,” Apple wrote on its developer blog.
CNBC confirmed new ad units showing up on app pages under a list of suggested apps titled “You Might Also Like.” The ad unit is clearly marked and has a blue background.
Apple’s advertising sales are reported as part of its services business, which also includes App Store sales, online subscription revenue, hardware warranties, and revenue from licensing deals with search companies like Google. In total, Apple reported $68 billion in sales from services in its fiscal 2021.
But competitors such as Facebook parent Meta have accused Apple of hampering their businesses with new privacy features just as it expands its own advertising business.
Last year, Apple released App Tracking Transparency (ATT) which gave iPhone users the option to refuse to share a unique tracking ID with app developers. Most iPhone owners choose not to share, which prevents online advertisers from accurately tracking the performance of their ads.
Apple says it made the change because of a corporate emphasis on user privacy, and has previously said it allows its users to turn off Apple personalization for ads and prevent the company from using certain kinds of data to target search advertisements.
Earlier this year, Bank of America estimated that Apple could generate $5 billion in revenue this year from its search ads alone.