Apple App Store ads in Today Tab are getting a smaller design

Jun 21, 2023

Apple has revealed that ads in the Today Tab on its App Store will soon have a different design. The Cupertino company rolled out ads on the App Store in October 2022, which drew criticism from users and experts alike.

Here's an example of what an ad on the Today Tab looks like currently. That banner is way too big, isn't it? It totally ruins the app discovery experience.

App Store ads on Today Tab

And this is what the new App Store ad on the Today tab will look like. This new format (spotted by 9to5Mac) will skip the giant banner and screenshots that ads currently feature. Instead, it will just display the app's name, its icon and a subtitle that indicates what the app is capable of. The ads will be displayed on the Today Tab without scrolling to view the entire ad.

new ad design in today tab app store ios

Apple App Store ads in Today Tab are getting a new design in July

Take the above ad for example, you can read the app's name, and the icon can help you can recognize it. The description clearly indicates its utility, in this case it is a "travel" app.

Apple says that its new rules will also benefit app developers and publishers to set up an ad campaign more easily. The approval process for the ads has been streamlined because the graphic element has been removed. Apple will not allow developers to change an app's icon, name or subtitle to promote the app's pricing, offers (discounts), ranking or other incentivized promos. Apps will not be allowed to flex their ranking or awards claims in the ads either, this includes phrases like "Game of the Day" and "App of the Day".

It is quite clear that the company does not want apps to trick users into downloading the apps, it wants to highlight quality ones. Apple states that it will re-review previously rejected ad campaigns to meet the revised guidelines, but they will be on hold until the developer decides to run them. The iOS App Store will start displaying the new Today Tab ads from July. All existing ad campaigns will switch to the new format automatically.

This isn't a perfect solution, of course, I would prefer not seeing any ads on a pricey device like an iPhone. But the compact design for the ad is a lot better than a giant banner that takes up half of the space on the screen. Interestingly, the new Today Tab ad design will only be displayed on devices that are running on iOS 16.4 or iPadOS 16.4 or later. Apple says that Today tab ads will not be available on iOS 16.3 or iPadOS 16.3 or earlier. Does that mean it is killing off App Store ads on older versions of the operating system?

That said, Apple really needs to improve the ad experience on the App Store, especially in the Search results. It is not uncommon for the store to display the same result both in the ad banner and the first match. For example, if you search for Chrome, the first result displays a banner for Chrome, and the ad that appears above it also displays the same. Irrelevant ads are another problem on the App Store. Yes, the problem is that the developer purchased the ad space, but come on, this could mislead users.

Apple needs to improve the App Store ads experience

I've also come across fake apps such as authenticators, ChatGPT apps, when I searched for a specific app by name. It's quite ridiculous that the ads promoting the malicious apps appear above the legit ones. That's embarrassing for a company that takes pride in the security of its ecosystem.

Apple App Store ads in Today Tab are getting a new design
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Apple App Store ads in Today Tab are getting a new design
Apple is finally reducing the size of ads that appear in the Today Tab on the App Store.
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  1. Anonymous said on June 26, 2023 at 12:46 am

    “it wants to highlight quality ones”

    I’m sorry, aren’t those supposed to be ads, meaning displayed only because they paid for that ? Are you in the “acceptable ads” sect ? They paid Apple because they’re quality apps ?

    “This isn’t a perfect solution, of course, I would prefer not seeing any ads on a pricey device like an iPhone.”

    I remember the Apple drones spamming everywhere on the web that Apple probably respects privacy (at least from the ad business point of view) because their products are so expensive. It happens that no, of course. And now it’s becoming a little more visible than before maybe with such initiatives.

    “Irrelevant ads are another problem on the App Store”

    Be careful what you wish. Think different about what makes ads so “relevant”.

    “but come on, this could mislead users.”

    As in the definition of an ad ?

    “That’s embarrassing for a company that takes pride in the security of its ecosystem.”

    See above about misleading ads. Remember, *who* told you that Apple loves privacy and security ? Apple. Yourself may not end in a torture camp because of them like some others but you may already have got some nasty malware thanks to them without knowing.

  2. Anonymous said on June 21, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Seeing advertisements with your expensive rubbish created in China. Such a joke these tech companies these days.

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