Apple Search Ads: will it work for your app?
The number of apps is growing. To stand out in the search and attract the attention of users is becoming increasingly difficult. To solve this problem, in addition to working on ASO, many decide to use paid tools to attract traffic. Among Facebook Ads and Google Ads in the ranking of advertising platforms positions of Apple Search Ads are increasing. Let’s discuss how to work with it.
ASA: about the platform and its advantages
Apple Search Ads (ASA) is an advertising platform that allows you to promote iOS apps in the App Store. It’s not available in all countries. Here is the list of 60 regions, where you can use it. For example, in Russia, the service was blocked for almost a year and a half due to changes in Russian tax laws to which Apple reacted with a ban. Fortunately, in the spring of 2020, the access was returned.
This is really good news because according to the App Store, 70% of store visitors find apps through search, 65% of downloads are done immediately after searching the App Store, and the average conversion of Apple Search Ads is 50%.
Another large-scale study Apple Search Ads Benchmarks Report 2019 says that ASA is the most conversion advertising channel in terms of switching from search to the app page (impressions – clicks). Despite the Google Ads leading position among advertising platforms and their special type of campaign for promoting apps (Universal App Campaign), advertising campaigns in ASA often work more efficiently. The disadvantage of the Google tool is that you cannot choose where and how the ad will be displayed: in store searches, in Google search, or on YouTube. In Apple Search Ads you totally control the situation: advertising is shown exclusively in the App Store search for the relevant keywords.
Types of Apple Search Ads
The advertisement looks native and practically doesn’t differ from the regular app page in search results. It is distinguished by a «backlight» – blue or gray, depending on the theme installed on the iPhone, as well as a small inscription «Advertising» near the icon. There is no clear algorithm in displaying long or shortened Search Ads. It’s pretty much random. However, you can try the special Creative Sets tool to edit the appearance of the ad by changing the order of screenshots for the needed keywords.
As for the settings, after registering on the platform, you can choose between two options: Basic and Advanced.
Apple Search Ads Basic:
- For monthly budgets below $10,000
- Pay only for installs at a cost you choose (CPI)
- Apple’s automation and machine learning takes care of the rest
Apple Search Ads Advanced:
- For monthly budgets of $10,000 and greater
- You can target keywords, audiences, regions
- Ability to manage your own bids
Apple’s top recommendations for configuring ASA
- think through metadata carefully
- primarily think about users and the relevance of keywords
In Apple Search Ads there is the possibility of flexible display settings – you can register only those keywords for which you want your app to be shown to users. Choosing the most relevant keywords, you will significantly increase your conversion.
Keywords in Apple Search Ads
In another large study, Search Ads HQ, an important emphasis is placed on the fact that the type of keywords also affects the distribution. In ASA, you can work on Broad Match (high-frequency keywords) and Exact Match (low-frequency keywords) separately. Experts advise actively working with Exact Match, as with their help it will be possible to configure a more relevant search query and attract an interested user. His actions are more likely to converse.
A big advantage is that you can show an ad based on the brand keyword of your competitors. The downside is that now organic methods of promotion suffer a little, since the first position may become the second due to the advertisement above it. Many developers and ASO specialists are already talking about this, noting a decrease in organic traffic by an average of 10-20%, especially when traffic comes not from branded keywords.
During preparing advertising campaigns in ASA, we advise you to evaluate the popularity of search queries and to work out the relevant options in Checkaso with the help of ASO tools: Keyword Analysis, Keyword Explorer, and Proposed Keywords. For the most effective campaigns, we use data from Search Ads for all countries where this advertising tool is available.
We also recommend installing a specialized extension for Chrome to watch the popularity of keywords, as it’s displayed in the Search Ads console as dots that are difficult to understand. The extension will help to translate these points into numbers on a scale from 5 to 99. We recommend not to use requests below 10 for promoting, especially in small countries where traffic is low.
Apple Search Ads best practices
Two studies of the best practices for experienced ones.
1️⃣5 Advanced Apple Search Ads Best Practices.
2️⃣Best practices to get 50% CVR and content UA costs.
Does ASA fit you?
You should understand that ASA is a high cost / high-quality channel. Pay attention to this tool if you plan to promote apps in the USA and Western Europe – these are the most «active» territories among iOS users, according to the Performance Index for the second half of 2019.
It is important to know that payment is not per install, but per click. So you pay for each transition to the app page, and if the conversion is low due to graphic elements or because you use irrelevant keywords for promotion, the installation cost will be very high. It’s necessary to optimize the app page from the point of view and look for the most relevant keywords where the conversion will be maximum. You can set the maximum possible cost for installation so that the algorithms try not to exceed it, but you should understand that this approach can significantly reduce the number of impressions of your ads since Search Ads work by auction.
We should note that ASA isn’t a panacea, and work with the app, in any case, must be comprehensive. Do not forget about the importance of text ASO, graphical ASO, localization capabilities, and try other platforms, such as Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and others.