Health and Fitness Apps: How to Grow with Apple Search Ads

health and fitness apps

Wellness products have always been on trend for the people who seek to become healthier in different ways, but Covid-19 made it a whole different situation. People started to prioritize their health even more than before, and change their lifestyle accordingly. Naturally, Health & Fitness apps become more popular.

According to Forbes, as people become more conscious about their health because of the pandemic, the demand for wellness products that can be used from home has been growing. And, the situation is no different for the mobile industry. 

Health and Fitness apps provide a great opportunity to improve your health in many different aspects while you are staying at your very own home. That’s why we have been witnessing a rise in the demand for health and fitness apps.

The lockdowns, gyms closing down, and the anxiety of coronavirus all prompted the people to start working out at their home, and look for ways to find peace and stay calm. This brought a lot of opportunities for Health and Fitness apps, but of course, along with competition.

According to SearchAds.com’s Apple Search Ads benchmarks, installs of Health and Fitness apps have more than doubled since March 2020. You can see how the Impression and Install amount changed between February 2020 and January 2021, based on the apps using SearchAds.com to manage their campaigns.

Health & Fitness Apps

February 2020

Health & Fitness Apps

January 2021

The Problem: Rising competition: Increased costs, Decreased traffic

This rising interest  in the Health and Fitness apps not only heated the competition among the existing apps, but also encouraged new apps to join the party. Thousands of new apps in the Health and Fitness category were launched in 2020. Naturally, a lot more apps started to look for ways to take advantage of this uprising.

Below two screenshots demonstrate how CPA (Cost per Acquisition) increased while Impression and Install numbers also increased.

February 2020

January 2021

As you can see, the CPA increased %34. This, of course, affected the lower funnel and increased the CPG (Cost per Goal) while decreasing the ROAS. That’s why it has become a struggle for Health and Fitness apps to find a good spot where they can benefit from the increased interest in their apps while maintaining the costs as they are, let alone decreasing them.

Not only that, but also we noticed that some of the health and fitness apps that we are managing started to lose traffic from the brand keywords, because other competitors started to bid for those keywords. This situation alerted us as it jeopardized the most important thing that we need to protect, the brand keywords.

The Goal: Increase the traffic &  decrease the costs

Our first goal was to take advantage of the expanded audience of Health and Fitness apps while decreasing the CPG. Many of the health and fitness apps that use SearchAds.com to manage their Apple Search Ads campaigns were looking to scale up and keep the campaigns profitable at the same time.

Protect the brand keywords

The other goal was to prevent the competitors from driving traffic from our brand keywords so we don’t let any of the users who are looking for our apps slip away.

Our Strategy as SearchAds.com

Refining keywords by taking advantage of organic keywords

The first thing we did was to try out new keywords in order to find the best performing ones so that we could allocate our budget to those keywords and would not have to rely on the costly keywords to generate traffic.

When adding keywords to your campaigns, especially in a competitive environment, you have to be careful about which keywords you are targeting. That’s why we chose the keywords that we are running ads on according to their relevance to our apps. 

To do that, we utilized our app store optimization tool, MobileAction, and generated keyword lists that our apps have organic ranking. We do this because if you have organic ranking for a keyword, it is already relevant to your app according to the Apple Search Ads algorithm. You most probably are targeting that keyword with ASO activities and the App Store allows you to rank for that keyword. That’s why it is going to be easier and probably cheaper to get traffic from that keyword.

In addition to having organic ranking, we also take into consideration the amount of competition a keyword has, because while trying to achieve the goals stated above, it is best to stay away from highly competitive keywords since there is a good chance that they will be costly. 

To do that, we take keywords that have a high chance score (probability of any app to rank in the top 10 results for a specific keyword) and low difficulty score (a metric that demonstrates how difficult it is for an app to be top ranking for a keyword, again using MobileAction.

In the end, we have a carefully prepared list that includes keywords that are relevant to our app and that have less competition compared to other keywords.

Creating Broad Match campaigns to expand the keyword pool

The other strategy we apply when trying to increase the well performing keyword pool is to use Broad Match. We create campaigns for the keywords that we already know perform well, and we put those keywords with Broad Match. 

The aim here is to find variations of those well performing keywords, because they might also perform well. So Broad Match allows us to get impressions from the keywords similar to the ones that we already know perform well.

Utilizing automation rules to protect brand keywords

Lastly, we created automation rules to prevent losing our users to competitors. The rules we set to achieve this are based on Impression numbers. 

We put a condition saying if the total impressions we got during the past 4 days (we change the date period according to the data we currently see) are less than %90 of the total impressions we’d got during the previous 4 days, increase the bids. 

In addition to changing bids, we also put an email notification action, so that our client would be alerted if the condition is satisfied. That way, if any of our competitors are to outbid our brand keyword and start driving traffic from them, the rule will take immediate action and will alert our client.

The Results: Doubled The Spend with Increased Volume & Lower CPA

After following the steps above, we found the best keywords for the apps. As a result, we were able to find a sweet spot where we increased the traffic and decreased the costs. In addition to that, we protected the brand keywords. 

By applying these strategies, we achieved success in many of the Health and Fitness apps that we work with. Below, you can see how the metrics changed for the campaigns of two of those apps. As you can see, there has been a sharp decrease in the Cost per Goal for both apps, while we managed to scale up and increase the goal amount.  

Both the demand and the competition grows day by day in the health and fitness category, so if you want to step in and make use of the boom in the market, now is a great time and Apple Search Ads is the perfect channel for you to grow. As long as you know how to adjust your strategy to the situation, health and fitness is one of the best categories with a potential that keeps snowballing. 

We, as SearchAds.com, help our users to develop strategies to remain on top of their game by using both our know-how and our campaign management platform. If you still haven’t tried using SearchAds.com to manage your Apple Search Ads campaigns, we highly recommend you to schedule a demo with our team to see the value that we will bring. We’d be more than happy to help you out!

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