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Since its launch in 2010, Apple’s ad service known as iAd has seemed largely like an afterthought. In fact, the company had announced earlier this year that iAd’s services were being discontinued. This all makes the iPhone maker’s latest announcement a bit of a surprise.

Ahead of this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple announced it is revamping its App Store. One major part of this reworking is the introduction of paid search ads for apps in the company’s app store.

Apple is starting small by adding a single paid ad to the top of search results within the App Store for users in the US. However, there already appears to be pushback from users and developers who say they would prefer improvements to the organic search results before including paid ads.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, Phil Schiller, explained that the company believes paid search ads will allow developers to focus their marketing budgets specifically in places where people are most likely to download their apps.

“There are hundreds of millions of searches on the App Store every week, and 65pc of app downloads are driven by search,” he said. “It’s a very valuable tool for users and developers. For developers, this will be very efficient marketing.”

The ads will be available in a self-serve auction-based platform similar to Google’s AdWords with no initial minimum spends.

To prepare for the revamp of the app store, Apple is adding ad features like its Search Match feature, which is comparable to Google AdWords Universal App Campaigns. The feature allows advertisers who aren’t familiar with the platform or are limited on time to create an ad campaign in as few steps as possible.

Apple Search Ads will not officially launch until the fall, but the company is allowing developers and marketers to get familiar with the platform through an opt-in beta from Apple’s developer portal.

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