Understanding Keyword Match Types in Apple Search Ads

apple search keyword match types exact broad

App Store is one of the best platforms to bring your app together with the right users. Considering there is a lot of competition within the App Store, making your app visible on App Store might seem hard. But Apple Search Ads is always there to help you target the best audience and increase your traffic without spending a lot of time. One way Apple Search Ads does this is by allowing you to use two different keyword match types. By having this variety, Apple Search Ads enables you to target directly the keywords that you know will work for your campaigns, and to find new keywords that can perform well.

The first one of those match types is Exact Match, which allows you to choose which keywords you want to directly target your app to show up. The second one is Broad Matchthat enables you to find relevant search terms to the keywords of your wish. 

Let’s explore Apple Search keyword match types and find out more about them.

1. Exact Match

As the name suggests, Exact Match is a match type that allows you to target a specific keyword. When you put a keyword with exact match, you will be entering the auction only for that keyword and if you win, your ad will appear for the search of that keyword. Exact match provides you with full control over your campaigns since you know exactly which keywords you are bidding for. So, if you already know the keywords that are the most relevant to your app and most searched by your target audience, just put them with Exact Match. That way, you will be able to target the right users with the specific keywords.

2. Broad Match

Broad Match catches the close variants of the keyword of your choice. When you use Broad Match, your ad will appear on the search results of the misspellings, plural or singular versions, synonyms as well as long tail keywords that include and is relevant to that term. 

That’s why Broad Match is useful to cover as many searches as possible related to the keyword that you already know works for you. With broad match, you don’t have to spend a lot of time and put effort into finding each and every possible variant of a keyword. Just choose Broad Match as the match type, and Apple Search Ads will do all the magic. So you can put well performing keywords with broad match and find related keywords to those.

Broad Match is the default match type of Apple Search Ads Advanced. So, when you are adding a keyword, it automatically comes with Broad Match unless you change. The terms that Broad Match finds are listed under Search Term layer, so you can check out Search Term layer to see for which Search Terms, your ad was displayed and how those Search Terms performed in terms of Taps, Installs etc.

Search Match

Although isn’t a match type, Search Match is a feature to find new keywords that you haven’t found or thought of before. When using Search Match, the user does not necessarily have control over the campaign and the search terms  as Apple Search Ads does  the job. It enables you to find out which keywords Apple Search Ads sees relevant to your app according to Apple Search Ads algorithm. So, unlike Broad Match and Exact Match, you don’t add keywords when you are using Search Match, you only need to open Search Match on. 

That’s why Search Match is different from the match types in terms of settings as well. So when you want to use Search Match, you just need to turn on the Search Match toggle on Ad Group settings.

The terms that Search Match catches are  also called Search Terms, so you can see which keywords were found through Search Match under the Search Terms layer. On the Search Term layer, you can see which Search Terms are coming from which source.. If it is coming from Broad Match, you will see “Targeted” as the source, and the original target keyword, and if it is coming from Search Match, you will see “Auto” as the source.

3. How to Choose Which Match Type or Feature to Use

Now that we know all about the match types, let’s find out what is the best way to utilize them. 

As SearchAds.com, we suggest using certain match types and features for certain campaigns. We follow the Apple Search Ads suggested campaign structure: Brand, Generic, Competitor as performance campaigns and Discovery campaigns. Brand campaign contains your brand keywords such as the name of your app, Generic campaign is for the related keywords the users search when they know what they are looking for but don’t know which app they need, Competitor campaign includes the brand keywords of your competitors, and finally, Discovery campaign aims to find new keywords.

Since we already know which keywords we should add to Brand, Generic and Competitor campaigns, we use Exact Match for those keywords. If there is any keyword that we want to catch the variants of, we create an ad group under Discovery campaign to put those keywords in Broad Match. And finally, if we want to expand our keyword pool by finding new keywords, we use Apple Search Ads feature Search Match on an ad group under Discovery campaign. Search terms are the Apple Search Ads keywords found by Broad or Search Match, and by having Broad Match and Search Match, they will allow you to find new keywords.

apple search campaign structure keyword match type

You should also add all of the exact keywords used in the Brand, Generic and Competitor campaigns as negative keywords to Discovery campaigns so that you won’t spend money for the same keyword under different campaigns, because that would make it harder to manage the campaigns and control the performance. In addition to that, if there are certain keywords that you don’t want your ad to appear, you can add those keywords as negative keywords to your campaigns.

Let’s say you have a family locator app, and you realize the brand keywords of the messaging apps do not perform well for your campaigns. You can add all of those keywords as negative keywords to the Discovery campaign, so your ad will not be displayed when those keywords are searched. Although not a match type, negative keywords are a very important feature to use.

apple search negative keywords

One thing to take into consideration here is, you can’t change the match type of a keyword. If you add a keyword with Broad Match, you can’t change it to Exact Match or  vice versa, so it is always wise to double check the match type when adding keywords.

There are always more to learn about Apple Search Ads keyword match types and how to implement the insights given here to your campaigns. As an official Campaign Management Partner of Apple Search Ads, we would love to help you with the details of your Apple Search Ads campaigns as well as optimizing them to get the most out of Apple Search Ads.


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