What Is Apple Search Ads & Why You Need It

what is apple search ads

Apple Search Ads is a relatively new user acquisition channel. Many app marketers are wondering how to use the platform in an efficient way that is profitable for their app. If you still do not know how or why Apple Search Ads is used, you are not alone. 

It should be emphasized that you are actually missing out on an opportunity to grow your business if you are not taking advantage of Apple Search Ads. It is a tremendous mobile user acquisition platform. If you are thinking about how to promote your app or trying to find new ways to do it, this article is for you. 

How Does Apple Search Ads Work?

So what is Apple Search Ads and how does it work? As mentioned, it is a user acquisition channel that connects app marketers with potential users in the App Store. When a search happens in the App Store, ads of certain apps appear at the top of the search page, given that they bid on the keyword and win the auction.

You are probably wondering what we mean by auction. When a keyword is searched for in the App Store, an auction is conducted amongst apps that want their ad to appear for the given keyword. These apps bid a certain amount to get their ads to appear, and the ad of the winning app is displayed at the top of the search results. 

Apple Search Ads Advanced functions with a cost-per tap system. Thus app marketers only pay if a user taps on their ad. 

Even though there is a lot more going on in the background, the basic mechanism of Apple Search Ads is as described above. 

Why is Apple Search Ads So Effective?

What makes this platform stand out from other user acquisition channels? If you are interested in or read about how to advertise an app, you probably know that there are many mobile ad networks. It is safe to say that Apple Search Ads is much more effective compared to these channels in various ways. 

First, let’s throw in some facts. Apple Search Ads states that 65% of downloads on the App Store occur after a search. Today, as of 2021, 70% of Apple Store visitors use the search function to find an app. 

Ask yourself this question. Would you be more willing to download an app if you saw an ad at a random moment (whilst using another app or watching a video) or just after you used the search function to look for apps? The second option appears to be much more reasonable. With Apple Search Ads, you will reach the users at the exact moment when they’re searching for an app that is possibly similar to yours.

That is why Apple Search Ads reports a conversion rate of 50%, which is impressive. According to our data which you can find in our Apple Search Ads Benchmarks report, this number is even higher around 58%.

Why Do You Need Apple Search Ads?

If a person uses the search tab, they probably already intend to download an app. 

This means that they do not need to be incentivized to install an app as they are already looking for it. This factor alone makes Apple Search Ads an extremely effective tool for app marketers. 

Another factor is the placement of ads. As described above, ads are shown at the top of search results. So, it will be the first app the users see. 

One of the most common Apple Search Ads tips is that the chances of your ad appearing increases depending on how relevant your app is to that keyword. This creates yet another advantage for user acquisition managers. Consider this example. You need an app to keep track of your hours at work. Most likely you will search for something like  “hour tracker”. If an ad that displays such an app is the first thing you see, you will be much more likely to click and download. 

Basic vs Advanced

The platform provides two different versions to users. The Basic version is a perfect solution for smaller businesses. Here, the only thing you have to do is provide the app, choose a country, and set a CPI & monthly budget.

Apple Search Ads algorithms will automatically match your ad to searches that it considers being relevant to your app. This way, you can maximize app growth with minimal commitment. It is possible to promote up to 50 apps with a maximum budget of $10,000. Naturally, the Basic version allows for less customization compared to the Advanced version. For example, you can not choose the keywords that you want to target or set up your own Apple Search Ads campaign structure

The advanced version is probably the better choice for more dedicated app marketers. Here you can create your own campaign structure, determine your CPT, choose the keywords that you want to target, and further control your campaign budget. Overall, it is a much more elaborate system that allows app marketers to have total control over their advertising efforts. 

In the Advanced version, there is no limit for your budget or the number of apps that you can promote. This flexibility allows for extensive campaigns across many regions. The advanced version will also provide you more detailed metrics which will allow for optimization and performance enhancement.

Basic Terminology

Let’s end this article with some common terminology that you will come across. 

Impression: Number of times your ad is viewed.

Tap-Through Rate (TTR): This is a crucial metric for any campaign. The platform wants to maintain an optimal user experience. Thus, it tries to display only relevant ads to users. If the ratio of people who click on your ad compared to your total impressions is low, it might become harder for you to win auctions. 

Conversion Rate (CR): The ratio of people who install your app after viewing your product page. This metric is also important as even though you might have a high TTR, if you are not getting sufficient installs, your campaign is not successful from a financial standpoint. 

Cost-Per Tap (CPT) and Cost-Per Acquisition (CPA): These metrics are useful for monitoring efficiency and controlling your campaign. If you go over the targets you set for these metrics, you might have to optimize your campaign to improve results. 

We hope that this article provided you with a basic understanding of Apple Search Ads and how it can be used to grow your business. Using a campaign management platform such as SearchAds.com can increase the value you get from your campaigns even more by allowing for easier scaling of campaigns. If you would like to know more about our intuitive products, schedule a demo with our experts today!

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