Google pays $7B to Android devs, brings search ads to Google Play

It’s a good time to be a mobile app developer: Google says it paid out $7 billion in 2014 to those who make Android apps. The future may be brighter for some, though, because the company plans to improve app discovery in the Google Play Store though sponsored search results.

A pilot program will roll out in the coming weeks with a few advertisers who are already running [company]Google[/company] search ads for their apps:

With more than 100 billion searches every month on, we’ve seen how search ads shown next to organic search results on can significantly improve content discovery for users and advertisers, both large and small. Search ads on Google Play will enable developers to drive more awareness of their apps and provide consumers new ways to discover apps that they otherwise might have missed.

Running ads for apps is surely going to cost developers, but the idea is that they’ll recoup the costs through app sales. Google, of course, gets a cut of the app sales, as well as the app search ads, so this is another way for the search giant to boost revenues, particularly on mobile.

End users will see a small notation in app search results indicating a sponsored app; look for the little yellow “Ad” symbol under an app’s name:

google play store adsI’d expect this approach to be more appealing to devs who offer paid apps, however, even though those with free apps might be willing to splurge on ads for their software and work toward in-app purchases for revenues. But a small development shop on a limited budget can be at a huge disadvantage with these sponsored app search results: It can be outspent by larger development companies, for example, which may rank higher in Google Play Store search results.

Are there any app developers out there who have a thought on the new sponsored search results? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments because you’re in the group that’s impacted the most here.