Apple Search Ads Best Practices, Campaign Structure & Tips

Over 70% of iOS App Store visitors find a new app by discovering a new app in the AppStore while 65% of all downloads come directly from the AppStore search. That’s why Apple Search Ads have become a powerful tool in driving more app downloads. The basics of Apple Search Ads start with setting up effective Apple search ads campaigns using Apple Search Ads best practices

Effective Apple Search Ads campaigns

Set up successful Apple Search Ads campaigns by following these tips on campaign creation and optimization.

Optimizing App metadata

  • Apple Search Ads uses your app metadata provided in your App Store Connect account in several ways, so it’s important you ensure it offers the best representation of your app. Though it falls more on the ASO side, the bottom line is that you need to have your AppStore optimized from an SEO point of view.
  • Your app title, descriptions, and keywords are just one of the considerations used to assess your app’s relevance for specific search queries so you should take great thought in crafting them.
  • Apple Search Ads uses the subtitle, description, preview videos, and screenshots approved for your App Store product page to create your ad.

Structuring your account

  • You’ll find it easier to measure results, optimize performance, and scale campaigns if you follow the below-recommended account structure.

Apple Search Ads campaign structure

  • Tips include setting up distinct campaigns for keyword themes, creating ad groups for exact match keyword types, and adding a discovery campaign to mine for new search terms.
  • Though Apple recommends doing an exact match with the brand campaign, I will recommend going broad for the branded campaign in terms of keywords targeting.

Choosing Audiences

  • Apple Search Ads offers flexible options to reach the customer groups you want to meet your goals.
  • It is recommended to start your initial campaigns with the broadest reach to gain a baseline for performance. If appropriate for your app, you can refine the audience you want to reach. Choose to show your ads only to new customers, existing or lapsed customers, or customers of your other apps. You can also specify gender, age, or devices in geographic areas.
  • Your ads will automatically exclude users who have LAT turned on if your ad group includes age or gender refinements. So unless your app is only suitable for a specific audience, Apple does not recommend applying unnecessary audience refinements as you can significantly limit your ad reach and miss out on reaching engaged users.

Using Keywords Match Types

  • Exact match terms give you tight control over searches where your ad may appear. Your ad may see fewer impressions as a result, but
    your tap-through rates (TTRs) and conversions on those impressions may be higher because you’re reaching the customers most
    interested in what your app offers.
  • Broad match terms ensure your ad runs on relevant close variants of a keyword, related searches, and phrases that include that term so you can identify search trends, and find new keywords to scale campaigns.

Using Negative keywords

  • The negative keywords could be a very powerful tool in optimizing the campaigns and filtering out unwanted taps or clicks but not converting to downloads or app installs
  • The best way to get the negative keywords is through the search terms at the Adgroup level. Depending on the budget, you can either update the negative keywords on a weekly basis or on a daily basis.
  • Use negative keywords even at the discovery campaign. Though Apple tries to find the new keywords for you, still, have an eye always on the search terms for negative keywords in the discovery campaign.

Try different creative sets

  • From the set of creatives that you have uploaded to your AppStore, Apple, by default, will show the default creatives as a part of the apple search ads. In that scenario, other creatives are missed out.

Creative sets for apple search ads

  • So, you can upload different creatives in different themes to your app store and make a creative set and test them against each other. A creative set theme could be based on color, text style, text size, screenshot & other highlights.

Applying Bidding strategies

  • A tiered bidding strategy is recommended for your ad groups. This enables you to apply your most aggressive bids for important
    exact match keyword, strong bids for similar keywords in the broad match that may also work well, and a more moderate bid for new
    queries that may be discovered by your Search Match campaign.
  • The actual cost per tap (CPT) paid is a result of a second price auction but will never be more than your max CPT bid

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