Google Play Store Policy Changes Take Effect This Week to Reduce Spammy Ads

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Tired of spammy ads in your Android apps? You know the kind I’m talking about. Ads stating that you’ve won a new iPad or some other expensive new gadget, all you have to do is CLICK HERE NOW ZOMG. Advertising keeps the lights on for us, but we are not fans of ads that pretend to be software updates or ones that show up in our phone notifications. Google knows that these types of ads make for a bad user experience. They are beginning to implement new rules that will remove apps with these types of ads from the Play Store. Rob Weber of ad network NativeX puts it like this:

“The ad market has been a gray area, and some ad networks became very spammy. Up to this point Google didn’t take a stand, but now they’re really stepping it up.”

Google announced these changes to the Google Play Developer Policies at the end of August, and gave devs a 30-day window to shape up. The first policy change states that ads can no longer be placed in the Notification pane. The second says that adding a new ad-focused icon on the home screen is prohibited. It’s very difficult to know what app is displaying these ads, so Google is making sure they don’t happen. In about a week, we won’t have to deal with these types of ads anymore.

Ads in Android apps have not been policed very strictly up to this point. The Google Play Store doesn’t make as much money for developers as Apple’s iOS App Store, so maybe Google felt that it needed to help devs make money however they could. It’s well past time that these annoying ads be squashed.

By making these policy changes, Google will be taking $150 million or more from developers that use these ads in their apps. That’s a lot of cash. “Tens of thousands of Google Play apps were using Airpush [one of the ad networks that promoted spammy ads like these],” Weber says. “They had over $150M in revenue, and we think 50-80 percent of their revenue was from this … and that’s just one of the networks.”

If developers had been using Airpush or another spammy ad network, they’ll need to find other options. And they don’t have a lot of time. This week is the beginning of the end for ads in our notifications or on our home screens. The new Google Play policy is now in effect. Apps that don’t comply can be removed from the Play Store until they change how they push ads to us. This move is great for the Android user experience and will help to clean up mobile spam. Good job, Google.