Google Play App Store Rolls Out Mandatory Notification for Ad-Supported Apps

google mobile apps

Google has made good on last year’s promise to label mobile apps that carry advertising.

This week, Google rolled out a new label in its Google Play store for mobile apps supported by banner ads, pop-ups, native ads and ads from third-party networks. Google warned developers late last year that they would have to identify ad-supported apps by January or risk removal from the site if undisclosed ads were discovered.

Google is now identifying these apps with a “Contains ads” tag just below the “Open” button.

Google’s move comes as online marketers face increasing pressure to be transparent about ad content.

The Federal Trade Commission’s social media and native advertising guidance has created broad-based requirements for advertisers to disclose, disclose, disclose just about everything—from endorsements and paid reviews to sponsored content designed to mimic other content.

App stores increasingly seem to want developers to play by similar rules. Both Google Play and Apple’s iTunes App Store already disclose when apps that are free to download contain opportunities for in-app purchases—those extra subscriptions or content that can be bought in apps on computers or devices.

Although online intermediary immunity would almost certainly shield app stores from legal or regulatory trouble, they clearly think that ensuring ads are identified and disclosed is good business. Other online ad hosts might want to take note.