Apple has announced a new feature for its iAd network that allows app developers to promote their apps within other apps, helping to curb the problem of app obscurity as the App Store continues to grow exponentially.
The new feature, dubbed iAd for Developers, uses the same network used to serve rich media advertisements to also promote similar apps that are relevant to the user-experience. For example, if you’re using an app to look up movie showtimes, you might see a banner pop up for another app — movie-related or otherwise — granted the original app is using iAd. You’d then be able to look at the basic information about the app, and if you wanted to, buy and download it without leaving the original movie app.
To use the service, developers first have to register and then speak to an iAd representative about their budget and the specifics of their campaign, but the service allows developers to also use keywords to exclude competitors from placing iAds in their apps. Pricing and other details have yet to surface, however.
The move shows that Apple is recognizing a growing problem that will plague the mobile app ecosystem going forward, which is an over abundance of apps in the marketplace. As thousands of new apps are introduced every month, it will become harder and harder for a developers to make their apps known, and for consumers to wade through the noise to find good, quality apps. App stores and platforms, like Android and Apple, will undoubtedly have to start coming up with solutions to this problem, though it may just be an uphill battle as mobile apps continue to flourish and app development becomes a simpler process.
Solutions like Google’s App Inventor, which allows almost anyone to create Android apps using a familiar WYSIWYG-type editor, won’t help the situation at all, and similar services will likely enter the market overtime. It’s an interesting problem with no clear-cut solution on the horizon, which makes the case for mobile Web apps as a preferable means to distribute one’s content.