How Do Apple Search Ads Work?

June 15, 2021

New apps are flooding the app stores every day. With the increase in app usage and downloads, app publishers have a ton of competition. According to Statista, 39 billion apps downloaded on the App Store. This number is estimated to jump up to 45 million by 2024. To create a successful app, publishers need to spend equal amounts of time on marketing and advertising as they do in developing apps.

App store optimization strategies help publishers increase the visibility of their apps organically. To further increase their app’s visibility on the App Store, app publishers can invest in Apple Search Ads. Apple Search Ads for App Store can help increase app visibility and downloads. This enables marketers and advertisers to set budgets based on keyword word search. These ads are a great tool for businesses to potential customers when they are searching for apps. According to Apple, 70% of app store visitors use search to find apps and 65% of downloads occur directly after a search on the app store. Moreover, the average conversion rate of apple search ads is 50%.

In this article, we will discuss various aspects of apple search ads that you need to know about if you are planning to implement your ad campaigns.

What are Apple Search Ads?

Apple search ads are the advertisements you see on the App Store. Search ads appear at the top of search results listings. This makes it easier for target users to locate your app. Customers are more likely to try the apps that are displayed on the top of the list. Apple search can also reach customers before they search for an ad.

How do Apple Search Ads Work?

There are two types of Apple Search Ads that advertisers can use: Basic and Advanced. To use Apple Search Ads, app publishers must have their app for purchase or download on the App Store and the ads must be available for that country or region.

Let’s look at how the two types of ads work.

Apple Search Ads Basic

These types of ads are easy to create and maintain, as Apple’s AI dies everything for you. To get started you would need to set up your goals. There is no need for you to come up with keywords or set audience refinement. Intelligent automation matches the ads with relevant users and maximizes results. Advertisers only have to pay for the installs. These ads are displayed at the top of App Store search results.

The management of these ads is minimal. The performance dashboard shows reports that can be used to monitor your campaigns. Advertisers can adjust the bids if needed as per the Apple Search Ads recommendation. The maximum monthly budget can go up to $10,000 (U.S.) and up to 50 apps can be promoted.

Apple Search Ads Advanced

The advanced Search ads gives advertisers better control over their ad campaigns by leveraging various marketing tools. It can allow them to target users in a specific location. Here advertisers have to choose their own keywords, audiences and set up the maximum budget. This allows advertisers to control their spend. Moreover, advertisers also need to choose ad placements, whether they want the ads to be displayed at the top of the App Store search results or on the App Store Search tab.

With these ads, advertisers need to pay for each tap on the ad up to a monthly maximum budget. Advertisers also have access to detailed reports that can be used to track performance and adjust the campaign as needed. Here the budget and number of apps that can be promoted are unlimited.

How Are Ads Created?

Apple Search Ads are created using the existing metadata and other assets that are already uploaded for the App Store product page. Search results ads use app name, subtitle, description, preview images and videos. Whereas Search tab ads use app name, icon, and subtitle. In case any updates are made to the metadata or assets, the app will have to go through the approval process again.

What are Ad Groups?

Ad groups contain keywords and audience refinement relevant to an app. Advertisers can set specific criteria and bid amounts for each ad group within a campaign. Ad groups enable advertisers to define who will see their ads.

Let’s find out more about keywords and audience refinement

How to Pick the Right Keywords?

Apple Search Ads can provide a list of great keyword recommendations to save advertiser’s time. Advertisers can also add their own keywords and Apple Search Ads will also provide a list of keywords related to them. To select keywords on your own Apple provides a few recommendations. The first one is to think like your target customers. Understand your customers and come up with search terms that your customers will likely use.

Next, use both general and specific search terms. General keywords can help you target a wide range of audiences. Whereas specific keywords are closely related to your app. Specific search terms can help you increase ad taps and conversions. It is important to note that General keywords are highly competitive and require a high bid amount. Lastly, put different types of keywords in separate ad groups.

Here are the different types of keywords:

Discovery keywords: These keywords can enable advertisers to reach a much wider audience through popular search terms.

Generic keywords: These keywords can also help advertisers to reach a wider group of audiences interested in the app or genre.

Competitor keywords: These keywords help ads show for search queries that are more closely focused on the app type.

Brand Keywords: These keywords help the ads show for search queries relevant to your app and brand.

What are Match Types?

Match type is a keyword setting that controls how ads are matched to user searches. Apple recommends utilizing all match types to get the best results.

Search match

Search match is an important feature of Apple Search Ads campaigns, as it enables the ads to easily start running in a few minutes. With search match, ads can be automatically matched with relevant search terms without the advertisers having to put efforts in figuring out the keywords.

Broad match

Broad match ensures that ads will show for close variants or keywords like singular, plurals, misspellings, synonyms, phrases and more. This can help advertisers build an extensive list of keywords without the need to think about every possible combination. It can ensure that important search terms are not left out of the list. Broad match can target the keywords that are not covered by exact match.

Exact match

Exact match gives advertisers more control over where their ads appear. This match type helps to choose close and specific variants of a search term. Since these terms are very specific, there may be a decline in impressions, but an increase in taps and conversions.

Audience refinement

Apple Search Ads Advanced provides advertisers with various tools to help them target the right audience and improve conversions. It is important that ads are shown to the right people. Showing ads to people other than your target audience will not lead to positive results and you may end up spending on the wrong people. Hence, it is important to target the right people who will act after seeing a relevant ad. Audience refinement helps in narrowing down the audiences which can lead to decreased impressions.

Advertisers can refine their audiences based on the following factors:

Device type: Only show ads to audiences using a specific type of device like an iPad or iPhone.

Location: This allows you to target specific regions and countries your app serves so that you do not waste your money on showing ads for irrelevant locations.

Type of customers: Advertisers can define audiences at the ad group level based on all users, new users, returning users and users of my other apps.

Demographics: Define audiences based on age group and gender.

How much do Apple Search Ads cost?

Basic Search Ads charge for CPI or Cost Per Installation. Advertisers can set a monthly budget and define the CPI for each campaign. Apple also makes recommendations that can work for your app and customers. Advanced Search Ads charge per tap. With the set-up of Advanced Search Ads, Apple offers a free $100 credit (U.S.) to help advertisers get started.

Measuring performance

An important element of any successful ad campaign is measurement. It is important to track the progress of your advertising efforts. The Campaigns Dashboard is the first page displayed when you sign into your Apple Search Ads account. Campaign dashboards include all the insights about your ad campaigns. You can access various metrics, data for keywords, search terms and creative sets.

Custom reports can be set up to make reporting on performance easy and efficient. These reports can be set up based on the relevant metrics you need at the keyword, ad group, campaign, location, or app level. These reports can also be scheduled to run daily, weekly, or monthly. Advertisers can also save time by using predefined reports that include common metrics and dimensions.

Apple Search Ads are a great tool for app publishers who have an iOS app on the App Store. With the ever-increasing number of apps, it is important to invest in tools that can make your app more visible. Moreover, these ads can help you reach your target customers and increase downloads.

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