How to Scale Apple Search Ads Campaigns

For anyone with an iOS application, apple search ads are and can be a prime channel that will help you in generating traffic to your app store and relatively increase your downloads. Starting a campaign on the ASA platform will be very easy as it is a very user-friendly platform but moving to the next level where you will need to scale and optimize your campaigns will be a tricky and challenging part if not done correctly.

All in all, apple search ads have been a huge advantage for app marketers like us. But to make the best out of the platform we need to understand and differentiate between good and bad performances. It is much easier to spot good and bad performances but the real challenge will be to counter the bad performances and also to scale up the good performances. Also, here is our blog on campaign structure guide on Apple Search Ads

So let us understand how to scale up your ASA campaigns step-by-step.

Increasing Your Cost-Per-Tap (CPT) Bid

Personally, I would highly recommend you to go slowly over trying to increase or decrease the bid in order to be more competitive and cost-effective.

Increasing the bid does not guarantee effective results. Sometimes It may have a negative effect on your overall campaign position. The bid cost is increased when we feel we are either getting very less impression or when we feel that the CPT is way too less and we can go up according to one’s budget. Try not to be very heavy at the beginning itself. Going slowly as an increase in spending does not mean an increase in revenue.

The trick about CPT is that you don’t earn from the tap itself. You earn from what happens after. Sometimes you don’t want to just get more taps, you want those that lead to installs. Hence if some keywords are having a good amount of Taps to show but the conversion rate is poor then we either pause it or we can reduce the CPT bid and test it for some more days. Then there will be some keywords with fewer Taps to show but with the best conversion rate to show. For such keywords, we can try to increase the CPT bid and try to get as many Taps as possible.

Decreasing Your Cost-Per-Tap (CPT) Bid

Sometimes, the cost per install will be high and you want to bring down the cost of the campaign but again don’t want these keywords which are having high CPT to pause. So what you can do best to keep those keywords is to decrease the CPT Bid of every keyword.

Adding New Keywords

The problem with many marketers using this platform is that they mostly go for keywords that are very high on the popularity score. From personal experience let me tell you, the popularity score of any keyword does not define its quality because the data of every keyword differs from time to time so making the popularity score of any keyword unreliable.

Hence, if you have not then please go for every keyword for your campaign which matches your business objective. There is no harm in testing it. Here are some of the ideas on adding new keywords

  • Run a search query report on your google ads and add all the major keywords and search terms
  • Go to your google search console and download the top 100 t0 200 keywords and target them through apple search ads

Discover Your Competitor’s Keywords

Let me start with the fact that Over 50% of searches on the App Store are branded which means that half of the users search specifically for brand/app names and have a high intent to install or buy the app they find. So it is very important to list down the similar and much more discoverable brands of the same application category as that of your application as this will help us to increase our traffic and in turn help in a much better install rate.

Historically, we have seen that the highest spend and one of the best performing campaigns on Apple Search Ads are the competitors’ campaigns. In other words, competitor campaigns are one of the easiest hacks to scale your campaign and budget on apple search ads while maintaining the target cost per install. Here is the screenshot of the competitor ad group within the non-brand campaign which helped us scale the budget.

Competitors keywords can help you scale your apple search ads

Setting Up Your Discovery Campaign

To reach a much wider audience and get high impressions, we will start with discovery campaigns which can be implemented using search match and broad match keywords. One of the other goals of running a discovery campaign is to find new useful keywords and search terms that are relevant to your application.

Search Match

Search match is an algorithm-driven method of targeting ads in Apple Search Ads that makes it easy to get your ads up and running in just a few minutes. With Search Match on, your ad may be matched automatically to search terms without you having to figure out all keyword possibilities and actively bid on them.

From my best understanding here are the best possible 5 methods as to how it may draw keywords to power:

  • App metadata
  • Metadata from peer category apps
  • Keywords that people search that lead them to tap on or download other apps in your category
  • Category-related keywords
  • Related searches based on keywords found in your app’s metadata

Creative Asset Optimization

One important thing you might have noticed here in apple search ads is that unlike other platforms, here you can not upload images or texts.
In apple search ads, the creative sets are used which are already there on your app store product page. Also, you can select at least 10 different variations of creative sets for each ad group, but this also depends on the number of screenshots you have on your product page on the store. Here are the different and best creative sets practices:

Align to ad group keyword themes

For example, if you have a travel app that covers flights, hotels, and car rentals, you could use Creative Sets to focus on a specific offering. Here’s how:

  • A set using flight-related screenshots may be used to align to an ad group with keywords focused on flight booking.
  • A set using hotel-related screenshots may be used to align to an ad group with keywords focused on hotel bookings.

Align to audience types

For example, if you have a shopping app, you could show a screenshot or app preview featuring women’s fashion to a female audience, and men’s fashion to a male audience.

Modify Your App’s Metadata

Your app’s app category, title, subtitle, keywords, and content on the app store page play an important part in getting good results. In order to determine whether your ad is eligible to participate in a search auction, Apple’s relevance score analyzes your app’s metadata to determine whether your app is relevant enough to show an ad for the keyword you’re bidding on. This whole thing points more to ASO for iOS.


It is very critical and important to measure all small attributes and understand the overall impact of every data on the overall campaign. You Have TTR, CPA, CR, CPT, and other important data available, which will help you in making data-driven optimization decisions. Taking data-driven decisions is the smartest and foundation for taking action.

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