Google announced back in February that it was looking to start a pilot program to test sponsored search results in the Google Play Store. Sponsored search results are already a major part of Google search results and with over 100 billion searches a month on Google.com, they know a thing or two about implementing the program.
Paid Ads are a great way to promote, improve visibility and discovery of your app. Google has already documented how paid ads can improve content discovery for users in Google search, the same principle should translate well into the realm of the Google Play Store.
While the initial reaction from developers has been mixed, the new paid ads platform could be a good way for premium developers and apps to cut through the noise of some 1.2 million apps currently in the Play Store, in the same way that Google search brings forth relevant content and pushes down spammy or irrelevant content.
The pilot program is only available to select developers at the moment and no one really knows how it will affect app store optimization (ASO) until there is a full rollout. It could end up making ASO easier because of a transparent search volume system similar to Google Adwords.