If you have been following our blogs or the recent developments about Apple Search Ads and iOS11 you probably realized that running at least a small scaled Apple Search Ads campaign is a must for every app business.
In this blog post, we will have a look at the reasons why Apple Search Ads is mandatory for the longevity of your app’s success.
Apart from what we have covered in one of our previous articles, we will have a look at the reasons why running Search Ads is not only beneficial but also mandatory.
Apple Search Ads is not only helpful in bringing you some cheap installs and increasing your rankings but it also is a tool you should you should use defensively.
Basically, we can view Apple Search Ads as both a negative asset and a positive asset. It’s a positive asset as it allows you to improve your rankings and installs. On the other hand, it’s a negative asset as if you don’t use it defensively it harms your app’s overall market performance.
Protect Your Focus Keywords
Interestingly, when people look at search results on the App Store they often do not realize that the first results are ads. Instead, they interact with them as organic results. Now, this is extremely dangerous for apps that have a decent ranking but are not running Apple Search Ads.
But why is that?
The answer lies in the new search results and product page introduced with iOS11. To get more details about what has changed with iOS11 go to this blog.
The new results page is much more lively than the old version and it is quite easy to steal the attention from your app to the Search Ads results as Apple shows ads just like search results.
Let’s assume you have worked tirelessly to increase your ranking for your focus keywords. You rank in the top 5 so everything should be going great. Especially, if you are ranking as the number 1 result. But what will happen is that one of your competitors will start running Search Ads on those keywords and steal your hard-earned position alongside the organic downloads it used to bring to you.
The easiest way to ensure that your focus keywords aren’t occupied by other competitors is to run cross-ads. This requires you to have another app that you can run ads for that keyword. Or if you have the budget, you can also run ads on your keyword as well so you won’t be giving up the keyword for free. With a decent budget, you can dissuade your competitors from running ads on your focus keywords.
However, probably the greatest threat to you comes from the new Video Previews that are always on autoplay. This applies to Search Ads as well. Search Ads results are not always displayed with Video Previews but when they do, they automatically draw the attention of the potential users.
It is, therefore, vital to your app’s success that you don’t lose organic downloads to ads that are running on your keywords.
Defend Your Brand Identity
This basically the same story as the one above. You probably have worked tirelessly to create a strong brand identity. Let’s say that your app name is widely popular and people often hear about it. If someone is dominating your brand name with Search Ads, there is no point in hoping that they will go for your app instead of the ad that appears at the top.
Up to %50 of the searches in the App Store are brand names and this leads to broad match & search match enabled campaigns to also run ads on branded keywords. So in addition to the apps that run ads explicitly on your brand name you will also be loosing conversions to other apps that automatically get matched with your brand name.
That’s why we strongly suggest that you run Search Ads on your brand name in all cases so you have complete dominance over it. No one should be able to get cheap installs from “your” brand name and you shouldn’t allow them to!
That being said, I think it’s time to get your hands dirty and start running Apple Search Ads at least on a small scale. Have a look at this guide and set up your first successful Search Ads Campaign!
That’s all we have to share today, make sure to visit our other blog posts and if you have any questions simply reach out to us, we will be more than happy to help!
User Acquisition specialists who are specialized around banner ads and targeted audience practices often get quite confused when introduced to Apple Search Ads.
That is because unlike other advertisement platforms Apple Search Ads is all about “keywords”.
Keywords? Isn’t that what the ASO guys work around? Well, if you are going to be engaged with Apple Search Ads, keywords is in your job description now.
As mentioned in one of our other articles, choosing the right keywords for your Apple Search Ads campaigns is the most important step you should take to get the most out of your investment.
But how do you choose the best keywords? Don’t worry, in this article we will have a look at our tested and tried methods of finding the best keywords for your Apple Search Ads campaigns.
You might ask: “How do I know if a keyword is a good one or not?”
The answer is a simple one. There are three points that you should pay attention to when deciding if that keyword is a good one.
Relevance, Keyword Popularity, and Competition
The first question you should ask yourself when deciding for proper keywords is “Is this keyword relevant with my app?” If the answer is yes, then you can move on to the next steps.
Apple has an algorithm that doesn’t allow users to run ads on irrelevant keywords. To decide if your keywords are relevant or not, Apple looks at your metadata (app title, description and keyword field). So before starting a campaign on an irrelevant keyword and getting shut out by Apple, make sure that the keyword is relevant to your app.
Secondly, what good is there if you get all the impressions on a keyword that only ten people search for? Especially, when there are keywords that are searched for hundreds of thousands times a day. That’s why you should aim to find keywords that have a good search volume.
Finally, the most tricky part comes, you don’t want to run ads on extremely competitive keywords. Because, as the competition gets fiercer the price of each tap goes higher as well. Take a look at this article that explains how max. CPT bidding and the auction system works to get a better understanding on why you should highly contested keywords.
You can find the first two points on your own. It requires only common sense and a bit of trial and error to find out if the keyword is relevant or not. Moreover, Apple shows you how popular a keyword is with the Relative Search Popularity Index.
See those gray/blue lines next to the keywords? The longer those lines are the more popular a keyword is.
What about competitiveness? Sadly, Apple leaves you alone in this part. Knowing how competitive a keyword, however, is vital to your Search Ads campaign. There are several ways to make up for the lack of this data.
Firstly, you can manually search for that keyword dozens of times to see how many different apps are appearing in the ad spot (if there are any). This can be quite time-consuming and its results might not be accurate.
So, what else can you do? At this stage, your best bet is to get outside help from another tool that can supplement the deficiencies of the official dashboard. Would you be surprised if I told you that we have that covered for you?
Head over and check our Ad Intelligence feature. With this feature, you can see which apps are running Search Ads on a keyword. Or even better you can see which keywords an app is running Search Ads on.
With keeping these in mind let’s have a look on how to find the best keywords.
Keyword Research for Apple Search Ads
This is the step where you should take help from someone who is keen to ASO. In respect to keywords, Search Ads is very close to ASO. So the basic strategies to finding a keyword in ASO also applies to Apple Search Ads.
The most obvious way to find good keywords is to do some brainstorming. Try to think as your potential users, try to see things from their eyes. If they needed an app like yours how would the search for it?
Doing this enables you to find some discovery centric keywords which might help you drive some new high-quality users.
Another way to get good ideas is to go through the user comments and if applicable go to the forums that are related to your app.
Going over these can produce some very useful keyword ideas.There are some very useful tips to getting keyword ideas from forums in this article.
One other way to find good keyword ideas is to look at the Search Suggestions Apple gives you at the Search Ads dashboard. You can get some incredibly useful ideas from search suggestions by looking at the suggestions of the suggestions.
You can also go to Ad Intelligence on the Mobile Action dashboard and see which keywords your greatest competitors are running Search Ads on. These can be good potential keywords for you and even better, you can use the Search Ads dashboard to get search suggestions for those keywords.
Other than finding the good keywords and deciding that they are the right keyword, you also want to see their actual performance.
However, measuring how a keyword performs is near impossible without going through a long process of trial and error.
Furthermore, in order to be able to test the performance of those keywords you need to have the actual keywords in your list.
What if I told you that there is a way that you can do both?
You can both test the performance of your potential focus keywords while also finding good keyword ideas for your campaign at the same time with the Search Match enabled on your ad group.
Simply, create an ad group with the sole purpose of finding good keyword ideas that also have a good performance.
A well-performing keyword has a high number of impressions with a good TTR while also being not overly expensive
For that, you should enable search match for that group and keep a low max. CPT bid. Apple will run ads on every related keyword to your app and will keep the low bid for all of them.
Do this process in a couple of rounds and see which keywords are giving you the highest impressions and TTR’s.
As the sole purpose of those discovery campaigns is to discover good keywords for your campaigns you do not need to worry about conversions. You can seclude the well-performing ones and the ones with a poor performance.
During these discovery campaigns, in addition to discovering new, well-performing keywords you will also most probably measure the keyword ideas you had come up with previously.
However, if those discovery campaigns didn’t measure your potential keywords you can test them with a similar method without enabling search match.
Overall, your discovery campaigns will provide you with some excellent results and we strongly suggest to anybody who wants to be successful with Search Ads to do them before getting serious with Apple Search Ads.
Additionally, to do a wider sweep you can run some side campaigns with some root keywords that have broad match enabled. Basically, add the well-performing keywords you found from your discovery campaigns under a new ad group, enable broad match. But this time, don’t keep the max. CPT bid low. Run it like a regular campaign.
That way, you can find even more well-performing keywords that you might have missed out during your initial discovery campaigns.
The reason you don’t do this as the first step is to not spend too much money on discovery and find those very efficient keywords that have a high TTR and a low bid.
Thank you for reading this post. As always, keep an eye out as we update this blog as often as we can with some very helpful content to run successful Apple Search Ads campaigns.
We hope that these tips will help you get some extremely good keywords to ensure the success of your Search Ads campaigns. Hopefully, they will help you to boost your downloads and allow you fulfill your ROI dreams for Apple Search Ads. Happy hunting!
Getting started with a new project has always been a nightmare for anyone. All the stuff you have to learn and get used to something new can be intimidating sometimes.
What if I told you that you don’t need to feel overwhelmed when getting started with Apple Search Ads.
That’s right, Apple Search Ads is extremely easy to get started with. There are key points that you should understand and the rest is just a piece of cake.
In this blog, we will look at those key points you need to know and go through the steps of setting up a Search Ads campaign.
Getting started with Apple Search Ads is extremely easy. Just go to https://searchads.apple.com/ and hit the “Start” button. Sign in with your Apple Id and that’s all.
We will go on with a detailed look at each of the steps required to set-up your first campaign. But before that, we should first have a look at the key points that you should know before setting-up Search Ads.
These points are namely the three levels of Apple Search Ads campaigns: Campaigns, Ad Groups, Keywords
So basically, your campaigns have three levels that allow the user to customize their campaigns on different levels to get a stronger control over their Apple Search Ads campaigns.
Campaigns are the first level of Search Ads. In campaigns you basically select an app you wish to run ads on and give a name to your campaign. In the campaign level, you also determine the storefront, lifetime budget, daily limit and negative keywords.
As for now, Search Ads is only active in four storefronts which are: UK, US, New Zealand and Canada.
You also determine the maximum budget you have and once you reach that your campaigns will be frozen and you will get a notification. To not run out of budget on the first day, you have the option to set a daily cap as well.
You also have the option to add negative keywords to your campaign. Basically, by selecting negative keywords you ensure Apple that you never want to show ads on search queries that contain one of your negative keywords.
Paid Apps wouldn’t want to appear in search results that contain the keyword ‘free’.
The second level in Apple Search Ads is your Ad Groups. Ad groups help you split your campaigns to groups that have similar keywords under them
At this level, you get the chance to select on which device you want your ads to be displayed. This can be only iPhone, only iPad or both.
You are also presented with the chance to select the scheduling of your campaigns. You can select the date and time when you want your ads to be active/inactive.
The Ad Groups level also is the level where you set a key metric that has a significant effect on the success of your Search Ads campaigns.
You have the option to select the max. CPT bid amount for that entire ad group. Your max. CPT bid determines if you will win the auction Apple runs when deciding to view your ad or not. For more detailed info about max. CPT bid visit one of our other blogs.
One other point that you can choose at this step is setting your CPA(cost-per-acquisition) goal. However, if you are not on a very tight budget we don’t recommend you to set a low CPA goal at the initial state of your campaigns.
This level is all about the most important part of your Apple Search Ads campaigns, your keywords. Unlike other advertisement platforms where banners and targeted audience is the most important aspects, Apple Search Ads is all about keywords. In that sense, it can be said that it is quite close to ASO.
At this level, you select which keywords you want to run Search Ads on under the ad group they belong.
Choosing the right keywords is the most important step for a successful Search Ads Campaign.
There are three match types that you can use for your Keywords. These are Search Match, Broad Match, and Exact Match.
Search Match is open by default and allows you to run Search Ads without selecting any keywords. Instead, Apple looks at your metadata and runs ads on keywords that it deems relevant to your app. It might seem chaotic but Search Match is a great way to discover new keywords.
Broad Match is a little different. You still select the keywords you wish to run ads on but in addition to them, Apple also runs ads on keywords that are relevant to the keywords you select. These include plurals, typos, and combinations.
Exact Match is the exact opposite of Broad Match. When you select exact match as your match type, your ads will only be displayed on the keywords you have chosen.
SETTING UP APPLE SEARCH ADS
Setting up Search Ads is rather simple. It is only a list of steps you should take that I will list below.
You create your campaigns based on the levels that we have talked about.
The first step you should take is to go and hit the “Create Campaign” button as shown below.
From now on it’s a list of steps you should take to get your campaign going:
- Select an app you would like to run ads on.
- Select the storefront you want to run Search Ads on.
- Name your campaign.
- Set your maximum budget and -if you want- your daily cap.
After taking these steps you will now be setting up your ad groups:
- Name your Ad Group.
- You may set up scheduling for your Ad Groups.
- Select on which devices you want your ads to be displayed on.
- Set your maximum Cost-per-Tap bid.
- If you want to you can set your CPA goal here as well.
At this stage of your campaign, you can also preview your banners. You have the option to see how your ad will be displayed on both iPhone and iPad. To do so, simply scroll down where your previews are displayed and click on the “View All Examples” button.
The next step is to set your Keywords:
- Choose whether you want Search Match enabled or not.
- After that, you can manually add keywords.
- Or you can add suggestions made by apple by clicking on the + icon next to the keywords.
- You can also select which match type you want to run for each individual keyword. (We strongly suggest against running different match types under a single ad group as it cripples your ability to track performance.
The best part about the keywords section is the “Relative Search Term Popularity Index”. Basically, Apple shows you the popularity of the keywords. The longer the gray or blue bars are the more often that keyword is searched.
The Relative Search Term Popularity Index can be extremely helpful when selecting the appropriate keywords to run Search Ads on.
The last but not least step you should take before launching your Search Ads campaign is to set your “Audience Settings”:
- You can select what types of customers do you want your ad to be viewed by. These can be :
- New User Acquisition (they haven’t downloaded one of your apps yet)
- Cross-selling (they have downloaded one of your other apps)
- Retargeting (they have downloaded your app before)
- You can select to which gender do you want your ads to be shown at.
- You can select the age range you want your ads to be viewed by (however, you can’t select an age range below 18).
- You can select the Location you want your ads to be displayed at. At this step, you can select cities, countries, regions where you want your ads to be displayed at.
After completing all of the above-mentioned steps all you have to do is to go and hit the “Create Campaign” button and voila! Your campaign is active.
So, that’s all for now folks. I hope that this guide will help you get started with Apple Search Ads and start getting those high quality downloads. Stay in tune as we update this blog very often with some great stuff that will allow you to improve your Apple Search Ads campaigns.
Since Apple launched Apple Search Ads last year, everyone in the mobile app industry has kept a close eye on how Search Ads are performing. You probably have come to the conclusion that many have already come to: “Search Ads rocks!”
However, even if Search Ads does deserve all the praise it’s getting there are still some problems that you have probably already experienced or at least heard/read about. The most important one of those problems is without any doubt is failing to get enough impressions which transforms a Search Ads campaign from a speed yacht to a slowly sinking ship.
To regain the momentum you probably had when you first started your Search Ads campaign have a look at the tips below and hopefully with their help and your resolve you will start bouncing on the waves once again.
If you are new to Apple Search Ads, check this blog out before delving into all the technical stuff this article covers
Let’s get started with the most basic ones:
DON’T BE TOO GREEDY WITH YOUR CPT
Your CPT is one of the most important points that allows your ad to be shown. If you don’t update your CPT often enough you won’t be able to adapt to the changes in the market and your ad won’t get enough impressions. So if your impressions are dropping the most obvious step you should take first would be to increase your CPT.
However, when increasing your CPT don’t blindly increase it in great amounts. Instead, increase it in several waves so you are not suddenly bidding too high and dominating the auctions. It sounds good to be dominating the auctions right? Well, it’s not that good to dominate a keyword with an astronomical CPT. Let’s say that your CPT is 2-3 times higher than your closest competitor. In the short run you would be dominating but after a while when your competitors adapt to you your previous strategy might backfire as now you have encouraged your competitors to do the same thing.
When increasing your CPT make sure you give Apple a day to adjust to your change before rushing to the next increase.
DON’T FORGET KEYWORD POPULARITY
Sometimes you might have a good CPT but still not be getting impressions. That’s usually caused by a low Keyword Popularity. So if your keyword is not searched enough there is no point in having the highest bid if only 100 people are searching for it. So running Search Ads on a popular keyword is always better.
Again, however, don’t forget that the most popular keywords might also have higher competition. Still having a lesser share in an extremely popular keyword is better than having a greater impression share on an unpopular keyword.
DON’T BLOCK YOURSELF WITH MATCH TYPES
If you are into Apple Search Ads or have read at least one article about Apple Search Ads you probably already know that there are three match types when running Search Ads on a keyword. These are; exact match, broad match, and search match.
Naturally, the most restrictive one is exact match which is the most economical one. If you are not getting enough impressions you might want to consider running your campaigns on search match or at least broad match. Because with exact match you are greatly limiting yourself to only the keyword you are interested in. Instead, increase your chance to appear in search results by broadening your keyword matching. That way you can reach to much more people which will hopefully translate to an increase in impressions.
Also, one more tip I can give you about this is that if you are running broad match or search match on a keyword, adding that keyword to your keyword spot will notify the Apple Search Ads algorithm that your app is relevant to that keyword. Which again will increase your chance of displaying your ad.
Remember not to block yourself with negative keywords when running your Search Ads campaign with a broad or search match.
AVOID CAPPING YOUR TOTAL & DAILY SPEND LIMITS
I know there is a purpose of the total and daily spend limits. However, letting your campaign run out of budget can be very harmful to your campaign. You will get a notification when your campaign runs out of budget. Sadly, the notification comes about 3-4 hours after the budget has run out. During those few hour, you will be missing on quite a few number of impressions.
It isn’t feasible to have someone look at your campaign all day long, still do not underestimate how much impressions you can secure by being aware of your current status of your expenditure limits.
Luckily, we are here to here for you. With the Automation feature of our new Apple Search Ads product, you can get an early warning when your budget is about to expire. Go ahead and check it, it has some very helpful features that will surprise you!
DON’T FORGET THE IMPORTANCE OF RELEVANCE
If you have red one of our blogs about Apple Search Ads you probably know that relevance is one of the most important variables that determine whether your ad will be displayed or not. To ensure your relevance is intact never forget to add the keywords you will be running Search Ads in your metadata.
CPA GOALS CAN BE DANGEROUS!
If you don’t have a very high CPA goal you will actually be crippling yourself. Because the system will be pickier when your app has a chance of being displayed. You definitely don’t want to make the system pickier. Quite the contrary, you want your ads to be viewed as often as possible.
DON’T GIVE UP TOO FAST
Be patient! When a keyword doesn’t perform very well give it some time. There can be ups and downs. Sometimes a keyword will have lots of impressions while sometimes it won’t have any. Daily fluctuations are okay. But if a keyword is not performing well for a longer period of time, then it might be a good time to get rid of it.
By keeping these tips in mind and applying them at the correct time, you will be able to boost your impression numbers quite significantly. Considering that you have already optimized the other factors that translate impressions into taps and even better to conversions, these tips will allow you to get you the most out of your Apple Search Ads Campaigns.
Thank you for reading and have a look at our other blog posts that will give you further information about running successful Search Ads campaigns at https://searchads.com/
Almost one year has passed since Apple launched its groundbreaking product; Apple Search Ads. At first, it was viewed as a reskinned version of Google AdWords but as Search Ads became increasingly popular we all realized that it is something entirely different.
User Acquisition professionals in the entire Mobile App Industry have started to follow Apple Search Ads closely. But for a user acquisition professional who is keen on more traditional ways of advertising which are more about banner ads and targeted audiences, Apple Search Ads is something alien as it is closer to ASO in the sense that it’s based around “keywords”.
Before you get even more confused let’s have a look at what is Search Ads, how does it work and what do you need to know to get started with Apple Search Ads.
What is Apple Search Ads?
Apple Search Ads is a form of advertising created by Apple that allows users to directly advertise in the App Store. Basically, Apple shows your ad at the top of the search results when someone searches for a keyword you are running Search Ads on.
Unlike other forms of mobile advertising, in Apple Search Ads users do not have the option to create custom ad banners. As for now, your ad is basically how your app would look on search results with the only difference being a small icon stating that it is an ad.
That is why your meta data and creatives play a critical role in running a successful Search Ads Campaign.
Making sure that your creatives and meta data are optimized will most definitely make it easier to get your ROI from Search Ads.
Apple Search Ads works based on a second price auction system (more on that shortly) where users bid on keywords and the winner gets their ads displayed on the App Store.
But how does Apple decide to display your ad?
There are two important points that Apple looks at when deciding to display your ad.
Your relevancy score and your maximum CPT (Cost-per-Tap) bid.
So, let’s have a look at what exactly is your relevancy score.
Apple, when announcing Search Ads stated that they value customer experience highly so they wanted to avoid showing irrelevant ads to their users by introducing relevancy score.
Basically, when you start running Search Ads on keywords Apple looks at your metadata (your app title, description and keyword field) and decides whether that keyword is relevant to your app or not. If it is not, your ads won’t even enter the second price auction Apple runs that looks at your max. CPT bid. That way, Apple aims to prevent big companies to dominate every search result and give smaller developers a chance to get discovered with Search Ads.
Relevancy is the first step to ensure your ads will be displayed.
The second step to ensure your ads are displayed goes through the max. CPT bid.
But before continuing with the max. CPT bid, let’s have a look at how the second price auction works.
Apple decided to go with a second price auction when running auctions on keywords and that has made Apple Search Ads one of the most affordable ways of promoting your apps. That is because how second price auctions work.
When two apps are competing for an ad display, Apple looks at their maximum bid and decides who the winner is. However, the winner does not pay the maximum bid they are willing to pay but the amount they pay is determined by their closest competitor.
For example, let’s say that the maximum amount you are willing to pay is $6 and your competitor is willing to pay at most $4. In this case, when you win the auction you won’t be paying $6 but you will be paying $4+1 cent because it is a second price auction.
Under the light of that let’s move on to max. CPT. So, Apple has decided to run a CPT method on the ads. That means that you will only be paying money when someone taps on your ad. So winning the auction doesn’t mean you are spending that money right away.
Provided that you have ensured that your campaigns are relevant to your app, Apple looks at your max. CPT bid to decide if they will display your ad or not. As explained above, your max. CPT bid is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a tap on that keyword.
On a basic level, this is how Apple operates Search Ads. Because Apple runs a second price auction and has decided to use a Cost-per-Tap method it is one of the cheapest ways of advertising your app. But what else? What other reasons are there to run Search Ads?
Let’s have a look at the pros & cons of Search Ads and you can see why you should most definitely run Search Ads at least on a small scale:
- If you win the auction you will be shown as the prime result in a search.
- Apple gives $100 free credit to all users who sign up. (That alone is a reason for you to try Search Ads out)
- It provides a shortcut for the app on keywords it’s unable to rank by showing it as the top result. Without Search Ads, it could take weeks even months to achieve such a rank.
- It is cheap. By cheap I mean, really cheap. With an average of $0.5-1 per tap, you can get conversions for as cheap as $1-2. Which is reported to be up to 5 times cheaper than other advertising platforms.
- The fact that there are no banners can also be viewed as an advantage as it doesn’t leave the negative impression that ads leave in some people’s mind.
- It’s easy to setup and use.
- Has an immediate effect on your conversion rates.
- Brings quality traffic.
- A shortcut to get quality apps discovered that would get lost in the huge app market.
- Did I mention it is extremely cheap?!
However, as with everything else in life, Apple Search Ads also has its cons. However, they are fewer in numbers:
- It’s relatively new. So Apple is still improving on user experience.
- Targeting and Ad content is somewhat limited (to keywords and metadata).
- App store unlike Google or other search engines is not about discovering it’s more about finding something specific.
- It’s “for now” only available in four countries (UK, US, Australia and New Zealand).
Apple Search Ads has proven to be an extremely effective way for promoting your Apps in the highly competitive App Store. It is also much more accessible to all types of developers as it can be incredibly cheap. Apple has reported that %65 of downloads in the App Store come from a direct search result. That means that with Apple Search Ads it is possible to get downloads for as cheap as $1-2.
We strongly suggest our users have a look at Apple Search Ads as it is an irreplaceable tool that will allow your app to boost its rankings and discoverability outside of your campaigns as well. Also, make sure to go to https://www.mobileaction.co/blog/announcing-mobile-action-search-ads-feature/ and have a look on how we can help you further enhance your Search Ads Campaigns.
So that’s all for now. We hope that this introduction was enough to draw your attention to Apple Search. Stay in tune for any new blog posts from us. We will be constantly adding content, most of them contain vital information to improve your Search Ads campaigns.