Note: This data was only valid when Search Ads was first launched (October 5, 2016) and was limited to the campaign data that we had access to. Search Ads has become more competitive since then.
I’m sure that you have read a few blog posts on how to optimize your Apple Search Ads. It all sounds great in theory, but let’s address the elephant in the room.
…should you use Search Ads?
Can it give you a good ROI right now, or should you wait for others to figure it out?
We analyzed the data and we think the results will surprise you. In this post, we will break down the numbers and show you why we believe that Search Ads is the biggest opportunity in app marketing right now.
What Was Included in Our Study
We took a random and anonymous sampling of 77 Search Ads campaigns. Keep in mind that we didn’t know anything about the app, the category or the publisher’s marketing skill, when we ran the numbers. On top of that, Search Ads have only been out for a few days.
So we can conclude that the data is a reasonably good sample of what the average app marketer can expect, when they run a Search Ads campaign.
Obviously, individual results will vary. From what we have been hearing, categories like casino games are already very competitive.
But for the average publisher, here is what we are seeing…
Detailed Apple Search Ads Results
Alright, let’s jump right into the stats. You know the average Conversion Rate (CR) and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) already, but let’s take a look at the other metrics, as well as the minimum and maximum values.
- Average Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): $0.40
- Minimum: $0.07
- Maximum: $2.15
- Average Cost Per Tap (CPT): $0.20
- Minimum: $0.04
- Maximum: $1.25
- Average Conversion Rate (CR): 49.4%
- Minimum: 0% (1 campaign)
- Maximum: 71.9%
- Average Tap Through Rate (TTR): 13.5%
- Minimum: 2.4%
- Maximum: 26.5%
Small Spends, Big ROI
This is exciting.
The campaigns in our study spent an average of $56.57, so far. Yeah, that’s total…for the whole campaign. This means that you don’t need a huge budget or do a ton of optimization to start to see results.
With Facebook or Google ads, you can easily spend a few thousand dollars, before your get a campaign dialed in. Not with Search Ads.
Although our initial study is relatively small, the results were pretty amazing across the board. So we believe that it is worth trying Search Ads, even with a small budget.
Suggested Improvements to Search Ads
As we were looking through some of the Search Ads that appeared on our iPhones, we had a couple of thoughts on how the conversion rates might be improved. These are our suggestions to Apple, so if you agree, be sure to let them know what you think.
First, adding the the ability to swipe through all of the app’s screenshots would be awesome for advertisers. Facebook allows you to do this in their ads and it would be a great way for people to see more details about the app, without leaving the search results page.
Second, displaying the average rating in the ad might be a great way to improve conversion. It would have to be tested for every app, but it would be cool to have the option.
Otherwise, Apple has done a great job with the implementation of Search Ads and the data reflects that.
So just like in the early days of Facebook Ads and Google Adwords, there are some huge opportunities in being an early adopter of Search Ads. Even if you only have a small marketing budget, it is worth getting started.
Cost Per Install (CPI) numbers in some categories, on other ad networks, are out of the reach of most indie developers and small companies. Search Ads can level the playing field, but only if you get started before there is a lot of competition.
Remember that Apple Search Ads depend heavily on your App Store page, so you should improve your ASO before spending a lot of money.
But with the results we are seeing, it’s probably worthwhile to do a small spend of $100 or so, and see how things go. Then you don’t have to go through the entire approval process.
Of course, not all advertisers will see fantastic results. But from what we have seen so far, Apple Search Ads is the biggest opportunity in app marketing right now.
You better get on it before your competition finds out.