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Apple Search Ads Overview

5 min read

The ever-growing competitiveness of the App Industry is about to get even more heated with the launch of the long-awaited Apple Search Ads. So what is so exciting about Search Ads that every single person in the sector, be it an app developer, an ad agency or an ASO agency, is so interested in the long-anticipated launch of Apple Search Ads?

Furthermore, what is this so-called revolutionary Search Ads all about? Do not worry, I can sense the frustration rising in you as the overwhelming amount of info out there on the World Wide is only but confusing you even further. Just take a deep breath and keep on reading as I have tried to highlight as clear as I can and did all the research you would be otherwise forced to do.

If you feel that this wall of text is too much for you, you can check this guide to get an understanding of Search Ads: https://www.mobileaction.co/blog/apple-search-ads-guide/

According to Apple, Search Ads is the simplest and most effective way for you to promote your app in the App Store. When someone searches for an app that is associated with your ad campaign Apple puts your app on the very top of the search results while clearly showing that it is an ad. However, the process is much more complex than that. I will touch upon the details of it shortly. But before you start losing your interest and start thinking that Apple Search Ads is not for you or you do not need it, I would like to show you why you are dead wrong.

Apple Search Ads is one of the single most important developments that has happened in the App Store for a very long time.

There are two very important points that make Apple Search Ads so important.

-Firstly; unlike other ad services Apple is not interested in how fat your wallet is. Instead, Apple claims to be more interested with “relevance”. In other words, Apple does not show your ad based on the money you are willing to pay but shows it by first considering how relevant your app is to the search name. Only after that, it runs a quick auction to determine which ad will be viewed.

The important point here is that, unlike what most people think Apple Search Ads can be used by businesses of any size as they are claimed by Apple to be much more cheaper than traditional ways of advertising. According to Apple, %65-%80 of organic downloads happen after a search and as the Apple Search Ads works on a Cost-per-Tap method you will only pay when someone taps on your ad. With the way that auction system and bidding work, Apple foresees that each tap on your ad will cost roughly 50 cents. As %50 percent of those taps, again estimated by Apple, will result with a download, your ad campaign is expected to cost $1 per download.

-Secondly, as your ad will be shown only with relevant search results, your ad campaign will be automatically tunneled towards your audience. In other words, not only it will be cheaper, but you will also save money because you will only be advertising to the people who might actually be interested in your app.

How Does Apple Search Ads Work?

So how does Apple Search Ads work?  Apple uses the app’s store listing which are the metadata and the creatives (app logo, screenshots, description & title) of the app. Creatives are especially important as Apple plans to show only the App Logo and/or the screenshots. Apple Search Ads decides if your app will be featured or not by a 2 step process. But before going into those steps first let’s talk about the auction system that I have mentioned before.

When you start your Apple Search Ads campaign you select the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a tap. After that you might set your maximum budget so you do not get shocked by an unexpected bill. The best part is that when your app is identified as relevant to a search and joins an auction, the amount you will pay is determined by your closest competitor. As a result, you will not always be paying the maximum amount you have set.

The first step your ad must take is to get matched with a search query so that it can enter the auction with other relevant ad campaigns. After that, it has to win the auction so that it can be shown at the top of the search results. So the moment you are marked as relevant to a search query, it all depends on the maximum amount you and your competitors are willing to pay per tap.

One important part is that if your ad is not clicked often, it will be shown less and maybe even not at all eventually. So the quality of your app is going to be vital for your ad campaign, I will touch upon that shortly too.

If you got this far you are probably asking yourself; “alright, Apple Search Ads are cool but can I use them?” If you currently have a running app be it your own or be it one of the apps your agency is managing, you can use it. But should you use it? Again, most definitely you should.

Because Apple will directly view your app’s metadata and creatives, you will not have to invest in anything else than your actual app for your campaign. Since the Cost-Per-Tap method is claimed to be the cheapest form of advertising it will also help your budget. As you will be displayed with relevant search results your conversion rates should be much higher than other forms of advertising as they will be appearing to the right people at the right time.

Apple Search Ads & ASO (App Store Optimization)

Great! You got this far. You probably have understood what Search Ads do and how Apple Search Ads work. But I think you are still wondering why has Mobile Action, an ASO data intelligence company, is going such lengths by preparing this huge wall of text to talk about something which is seemingly irrelevant to ASO.

Well, the point is, Apple Search Ads is nothing without ASO. If you are not choosing the correct keywords to advertise your ad it will not be displayed. If you do not have intriguing creatives no one will tap on your ad. In both cases, your campaign will go to waste. You probably won’t lose too much money but you will lose the precious time you spent to launch your campaign.

Basically, you should be able to spot the popular keywords that are relevant to your app and start your campaigns on those keywords so that you can appear on search results. ASO comes into play here, starting an Apple Search Ads campaign on a keyword that only 10 people search cannot be as effective as starting one on a keyword that 10 million people search.

Sadly it does not end there. Even if you get viewed very often and your ad is not getting taps, Apple will slowly stop showing your ad. Therefore the creatives of your app are quite important too so that when your ad is displayed people get interested, then tap on your ad and hopefully download it.

There is one final point about Apple Search Ads that makes it absolutely worth to run a Search Ads campaign. The magical term called: “Relative Search Term Popularity Index” is something that is revolutionary for ASO. For the first time ever, Apple will be sharing their own keyword data for Apple Search Ads.

Basically, when you start an Apple Search Ads campaign Apple will share with you the relative number of searches done for keywords that are related to your app. As if that was not enough Apple will also give keyword ideas that are related to your keyword ideas. Both of these features are enough on their own to start an Apple Search Ads campaign on their own as for the first time you will be receiving data directly from the source.

The general problem with Apple Search Ads is that it's quite difficult to manage your campaigns to make them as efficient as possible. This can be done through advanced Search Ads practices that might seem overwhelming at the start but are quite easy when you get started.

To be honest, advanced practices require a solid toolset, so if you're serious about Apple Search Ads, you should definitely check SearchAds.com, which an extremely powerful Apple Search Ads platform.

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