How Do You Win The Auction in Apple Search Ads

win auction apple search ads

Winning the auction means getting your app in the Apple App Store ads. These ads are at the top of the App Store search tab. Apple Search Ads works with something called an auction system. This means that the keywords with the highest bid (and relevancy) are placed at the top of the search page in the Apple App Store. Your bid is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for each click.

Mastering the art of adjusting your bids is a sure way to be on top of the App Store Search results. If you want to increase your clicks per tap we have some useful information on campaign management concerning bids with Apple advertising.

How second-price auction works with Apple Search Ads

With Apple Search Ads you only pay for your ad after a user has tapped on it. This is called a cost-per-tap model.

Apple Search Ads operates with a second-price auction. This means that the cost per tap you pay is decided by the amount which the nearest competitor is bidding. This cost will always stay within the range of your maximum CPT setting. 

To have your ad promoted, your bid needs to be high enough to match your competition and the keyword you bid on must be relevant to your application.

Apple Search Ads wants to increase the likelihood of a tap on the ads of their customers. 

They will then take into consideration the historical tap-through rate. If this is your first time bidding on a keyword, it will instead compare the relevance of your metadata to the keyword. 

It is therefore crucial that your metadata contains keywords that describe the functionality of your application. Your screenshots can also have an impact on your TTR and therefore should reflect the use of your application.

Winning the auction means getting your app in the apple app store ads. These ads are at the top of the app store search tab. Apple Search Ads works with something called an auction system. This means that the keywords with the highest bid (and relevancy) are placed at the top of the search page in the apple app store. Your bid is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for each click.

Mastering the art of adjusting your bids is a sure way to increase app store search results. If you want to increase your clicks per tap we have some useful information on campaign management concerning bids with apple advertising.

how second-price auction works with Apple Search Ads auction

With Apple Search Ads you only pay for your ad after a user has tapped on it. This is called a cost-per-tap model.

Apple Search Ads operates with a second-price auction. This means that the cost per tap you pay is decided by the amount which the nearest competitor is bidding. This cost will always stay within the range of your maximum CPT setting. 

To have your ad promoted, your bid needs to be high enough to match your competition and the keyword you bid on must be relevant to your application.

Apple Search Ads wants to increase the likelihood of a tap on the ads of their customers. 

They will then take into consideration the historical tap-through rate. If this is your first time bidding on a keyword, it will instead compare the relevance of your metadata to the keyword. 

It is therefore crucial that your metadata contains keywords that describe the functionality of your application. Your screenshots can also have an impact on your TTR and therefore should reflect the use of your application.

Bid insights 

It can be hard to stay competitive. The more people bidding in your category the harder it is to keep up with your bids. Apple Search Ads knows that it’s important to make educated decisions when it comes to bidding. Their bid insights feature helps you stay informed while optimizing your campaign.

Apple Search Ads provides bid insights at two levels. The first is at the campaign level within the “All Keywords dashboard”. The second is at the group level. This can be found in the “Keywords” tab on your Apple Search Ads account. Furthermore, your insights are kept up to date. As long as your campaign is running, your insights are updating alongside them on an ongoing basis.

To further provide you with accessibility, they are available to be downloaded along with other metrics as a CSV file.

Apple Search Ads will put a color tag next to each bid to show you the strength of your bid. Red being weak and green being strong. Yellow, of course, indicates moderate bid strength. If your bid does not have a color that is because there is insufficient data associated with your bid range.

Finally, they will also give you a suggested bid range. This is based on your previous bids and will help you decide on which bid to place.

Placing your bids

But how to choose words to bid on? There are a couple of different things you can do to get started.

  • Brand Keywords: Most app downloads come from searching the exact brand name. Bidding on the name of your brand is a good place to start.
  • Generic Keywords: These should be words in and around the subject of your app. Try to think like your consumer. Who are they? What will they be searching for in the app store? You can also check out what words your competitors are bidding on with SearchAds.com
  • Competitor Keywords: These are the brand names of your competitors. You are selling a similar product so their customers may see your app and try it out.
  • Discovery Keywords: To catch some keywords that are searched by potential users. This refers to the search terms in discovery campaigns when the user turns on Search Match 

SearchAds.com May help with the process 

  • The Organic Keyword hunt feature on SearchAds.com can help you to find organic keywords that your competitors are ranking for. You may want to place a bid on one of these.
  • SearchAds.com can also help you find out what the paid keywords of other apps are. You can search for a keyword and see who’s running ads on it to adjust your strategy.
  • Smart Alerts offered on SearchAds.com will let you know if you are trying to add a keyword to your campaign that already exists.

Optimizing your apple search ads auction bids

What to look for when bidding

  • Keep an eye out for three things: tap through rates, conversion rates, and cost per action. 
  • Brand campaigns generally have a lower tap through rate but higher conversion rates.  While general campaigns may have the opposite.
  • Each campaign should be analyzed separately. However, there are a few guidelines you can follow

When to raise a bid

  • Your Search Match terms are increasing conversions for your app.
    In this case, you can try raising your max CPT bid to see if it gets you more impressions.
  • Your keywords are performing below your CPA goal in terms of conversion rates. Sometimes, incremental increases in your bids on those words can increase impressions and conversions. Apple Search Ads has a suggested range that you can use as a guide.
  • You’re bidding on popular keywords but not seeing any impressions.
    If your app is not relevant to the keyword, that could also be a reason why it is not being shown. You should be using relevant keywords. However, if it is and you are not seeing results you may be being outbid for that word. If you cannot bid any higher try looking for a more niche and specific keyword to your app. 

When to lower a bid

  • Your cost per action is higher than your goal. Specifically, on a keyword that’s getting taps but not conversions. In this case, you should lower your bid. Keep in mind that adjusting your max cost per tap bid for a specific keyword overrides the ad group default max cost per tap bid for that keyword.

Optimizing to obtain the optimal CPT auction bid

Have a target for your optimization

Make sure to have a clear target in mind for your optimization. You can set a target for how much you want to spend on each goal or event. This will give you a way to measure your progress and give you something concrete to work towards. Make sure to wait a couple of days after launching your campaign before optimizing so you can have enough data to make an educated change. 

Bid high enough to win the auction

If you bid too low on a keyword it may never receive any traffic. Remember, it’s an auction. If you are bidding too low you will never get any taps.

You can always lower or increase the bid again once you have some data points to go off of. 

Best Practices for Apple Search Ads Auction 

What is low funnel marketing?

Targeting people you know are about to become clients is called low funnel marketing. 

How to optimize for low funnel events?

Target the keywords that will bring in users with a high intention of conversion in your app. 

But how do you know how the users you acquired behave in your app? A mobile measurement partner (MMP) can help glean insight. With these insights, you measure in-app events, such as the purchases and sign-ups within your app. These insights are crucial if you wish to run performance-based campaigns.

Streamline the Process with SearchAds.com

In addition to your MMP, you can use an external tool such as SearchAds.com. It integrates with your Apple Search Ads account to provide you with a streamlined picture of all the data coming from Apple Search Ads such as taps, downloads, and impressions. It also shows you all the data in installs, in-app events, and revenue from your MMP. This information is combined on one efficient dashboard. 

Automate the bidding process

As we touched on before, SearchAds.com can also help you automate the bidding process. 

You can easily set up automation rules to adjust your bid amount, freeze campaigns, or add negative keywords. You can also handle your keywords in bulk, increase or decrease bids on a bulk of keywords, put them all on pause or move them to another ad group. This can eliminate much of the legwork. 

Make sure your campaign is running smoothly and you win the Apple Search ads auction. Sign up with us to see how the results can transform your app marketing experience.

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