Managing a Search Ads campaign can be extremely difficult. Managing numerous campaigns for different countries and different purposes can make you lose focus and optimizing your campaigns will eventually be delayed to be something you will look into “later”.

If you don’t actively search for the best possible keywords to run ads on, having superb management skills won’t do you any good.


You might be wondering, what does the ‘best possible keywords’ actually mean?

Well, as far as we have learned during the short lifespan of Apple Search Ads, a good keyword to bid has a high search volume, relatively low CPA value and high relevance to your app.

For exactly that reason, discovery campaigns are the most important step of setting up and running successful Apple Search Ads Campaigns that will bring you the highest ROI.

How to Start Your Discovery Campaigns

Before starting on how to run your discovery campaigns, you should know what type of keywords you are trying to discover. We had mentioned above what points make a keyword a good one for Apple Search Ads. Let’s have a deeper look on these points.

A good Apple Search Ads keywords should have:

  • High Search Volume: If a keyword is being searched a lot, logically, you will get more installs, taps, impressions. Even if your TTR, CR doesn’t improve, you will have a bigger scale to make up to that.
  • Low CPA: CPA is the average amount you are paying to get an install on Search Ads. Naturally, having the lowest possible cost per install is the only going to be good.
  • High Relevance: When giving impressions to apps, Apple doesn’t solely rely on the max. CPT bid. It also favors apps that are relevant to the keyword. We don’t know the exact algorithm but it’s always going to be beneficial to run ads on keywords related to your niche.

The main idea of running discovery campaigns on Apple Search Ads is to set up the Apple algorithm to do the work for you. However, it’s not so simple as just preparing and leaving it to the hands of Apple.

Rather, you will set up the discovery campaign, watch the results, do the appropriate tweaks and continue until you have the perfect set of keywords.

The first step to take here is to set up a Search Ads campaign with search match enabled and a very low CPA goal set. This way, Apple will try to find the most relevant, yet cheap keywords for your app.

After you set up the first version of your Discovery Campaign, leave it running for a couple of days. After that, have a look and find out which keywords are bringing the most conversion rates, TTR and lowest CPA.

These keywords are the ones that you have a better chance at scaling.

After the initial couple of days, it’s time to do some cleanup. Have a look at all of the keywords Apple has matched you and add the ones that have a high CPA, low volume, low TTR and low Conversion Rate as negative keywords. Slightly increase the max budget and CPA goal and leave it for 2 more days.

Repeat this process for around a week by slowly increasing the CPA goal and the budget. This should allow you to have a good set of keywords which you can scale your campaigns with.

However, as with anything concerning people, the effectiveness of each keyword might diminish or increase over time. So, it’s always good to do a series of discovery campaigns every 3 or 4 months.

Additional Ways of Discovering New Keywords

As effective as they might be, Discovery Campaigns are not the only way of discovering new keywords to run ads on. There are some additional ways you can discover good keywords you can start running Apple Search Ads on.

1.Organic Keywords

Apple Search Ads has become an integral part of App Store Optimization. That’s why checking the organic keywords of your competitors will always be a good source of new keywords.

You should, especially, focus on the keywords your competitors rank #1 or at least rank in the top 5. These keywords, regardless of their metrics, will always be good keywords to run aggressive Search Ads on.

2.Ad Spy

Now, you can find perfect keywords without using any third party tool but having the chance to see every single keyword they are actively bidding on is something you wouldn’t want to walk away.

On the Ad Spy module of, you can check each app and see which keywords they are running ads on and even see their impression share. Give it a try!

Overall, running ads on Apple Search Ads can be a tedious task to run. However, knowing which keywords are scalable and which ones won’t likely turn up good will save you tremendous time and this will allow you to start your campaigns without losing too much time in adjusting and changing your keyword selection.

We hope that this post has shed some light on how to run Discovery Campaigns on Apple Search Ads. We hope that this post was insightful. Stay tuned for updates!