Starting on Jan. 11, 2016, Skybuilders who have apps in the Google Play Store are required to declare this via the Play Developer Console. In a step to becoming more transparent, Google Play wants app users to know in advance if your app serves ads.
After January 11th, Android users will see the “Ads” label directly beneath the “Install” button where the “In-app purchases” label is normally located.
But do we have to?
Yes. Google warns that inaction by developers by the deadline may have consequences. That’s usually spelled, S-U-S-P-E-N-S-I-O-N, so this is not something you will want to ignore. Google says, “misrepresenting ad presence violates Google Play Developer Program Policies and may lead to suspension.”
What do they mean by “Ads?”
If an app integrates with an ad SDK (Admob, Leadbolt, etc.) to show banners and/or interstitials, or puts a banner on the app to promote other apps, Google will require transparency. Even if a developer’s app displays a small banner just to promote the developer’s other apps, that must also be declared in their developer account. Google states that it has the final say in verifying whether there are indeed ads present in an app.
While Google Play may require an app launch disclosure at some point, currently, they are only requiring developers to login to their dev accounts and identify apps that are serving ads.
Here’s a copy of the email sent to all Google Play developers around mid-November:
Hello Google Play Developer,
At Google I/O, we launched “ad-supported” labels for apps in the Designed for Families program. Today, we’re announcing the expansion of this program to all apps on Google Play. Early next year, users will start to see the “Ads” label on apps that contain advertising, both inside and outside Designed for Families.
By January 11, 2016, you must sign in to the Play Developer Console and declare whether your apps contain ads (such as ads delivered through third party ad networks, display ads, native ads, and/or banner ads). After this date, the ads declaration will be required to make any updates to your apps. Please note that misrepresenting ad presence violates Google Play Developer Program Policies and may lead to suspension. You can visit our help center to learn more.
While developers are responsible for accurately declaring ad presence in their apps, Google may verify this at any time and display the “Ads” label if appropriate.
If you feel your app has been incorrectly flagged for containing ads, please contact our policy support team.
The Google Play Team
So, what should you do?
First of all, don’t panic. Just login to your Google Play account and identify the apps that are serving ads. Keep in mind that app stores are always upgrading and changing the way they do things. This is just another facet of doing business as an app creator.
Secondly, get creative. This is a great time to create a new opportunity for your self to be different than the crowd!. Why not make an app that’s free (with ads), and create a paid app (that has no ads)? With the paid app, increase the value by offering more content which will entice users to upgrade. This will only serve to increase your revenue and your professionalism as an app creator. With Skybuilder you are free to create unlimited apps, so utilize your program to churn out those apps.
Thirdly, lighten up on the ads in your apps. The reason most people delete free apps is due to excessive ad popups and an unreasonable amount of push notices. Be kind. Remember, your goal is not to have a lot people who download and delete, but happy app users who keeps coming back and using your app everyday (creating ad revenue for you 🙂 .
Questions or concerns? Contact Support. firstname.lastname@example.org
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