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iPhone users, you’ll start seeing Search Ads in the App Store from October 5

iPhone and iPad owners using the Search option in the App Store will soon see ads appearing at the top of results.

From October 5, whenever an iOS user enters a keyword in the App Store’s search box, the likelihood is the top returns will be sponsored. It’s the consequence of a new Search Ads feature launched by Apple for developers with cash to splash.

The tech giant first revealed its plans for App Store ads in June, with the rollout linked to Apple’s recently launched iOS 10 mobile operating system. Google’s Play Store introduced a similar sponsored-apps system just over a year ago.

Lots and lots of apps

With so many new apps landing on the store’s virtual shelves, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for developers to get their work noticed. On smaller handset displays, only one or two apps show up on the screen during a search, with the user having to scroll down to see all the returned results. Therefore, the new ad system, while benefitting those with the funds, could present even more difficulties for developers unable to spend out on ad campaigns.

On an iPad, the larger display means users are exposed to more apps during searches, though we’ll have to wait and see how – or even if – Apple mixes sponsored results with unpaid ones.

Related: Apple’s App Store has now paid more than $50 billion to developers

Developers can also have their work discovered via the store’s Top Charts, Categories, and Featured tabs, though with around two million apps currently available – and a further three million expected to land by 2020 – getting software front and center is still a monumental challenge for most developers.

To get the ball rolling and to encourage Search Ads participation among app creators, the Cupertino company is offering developers a $100 credit toward their first campaign.