Be On Top of The Game With Apple Search Ads

Learn about the concept of Search Ads and its essential practices that every marketer should follow.

Published 10 Nov 2021Updated 17 Apr 2023

“In the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish.”

-Klaus Schwab, A German Engineer and Economist.

It’s an old perception that only big brands can dominate the market. Evolving technologies facilitate corporate to small enterprises with equal opportunities to reach out wider consumer base, offer quality services/products, and earn profit. It depends on the companies are they ready to adopt new technologies in order to expand their business.

Mobile is one of the hottest technology platforms that has changed buying pattern of users. Eventually, it has affected the businesses profoundly. The result is we have millions of mobile apps on each leading application stores including App Store, Google Play Store, Windows App Store, etc.

As of January 2017, the Apple’s app store had 2.2 million mobile apps available for download. – Statista

When your competitors are in millions, the visibility is always a prime concern to climb the ladder of success. With the various app marketing tactics, you can optimize the rank of your mobile app on different app stores. However, it takes time in delivering an expected result.

By announcing Search Ads in WWDC 2016, Apple has tried to facilitate app marketers and app publishers with primary positions on the App Store so that they can increase awareness of their app and engage the users. The company has launched the Searched Ads on 5th October 2016.

Eager to explore how does the service work? Learn about the concept of Search Ads and its essential practices that every marketer should follow.

Basic Understanding of Apple’s Search Ads

It’s an easy and efficient way to promote your mobile app at the top of the App Store searched results. The service is quite similar to the Google Search that utilizes demographics and interests of targeted users. Marketers only need to pay when a user taps on the app. Search Ads offer exclusive flexibilities to organizations such as minimize spend, start or stop ads at any time, no long-term commitment, and least investment.

Marketers need to bid for the keywords to optimize their app ranking on the App Store. Apple displays the ads to the users who are ready to install. Apple Search Ads is relatively a new service that has gained amazing popularity within a very short time span.

According to Adweek, “The average cost per install for Apple Search Ads was $1.31, while app-install ads on social platforms averaged $5.84, and display ads cost $2.99.”Due to the increasing popularity of Apple Search Ads, it is expected more app owners will embrace this platform. Here’re essential tips to boost your app’s visibility on the App Store using the power of Apple Search Ads.

Tips to Optimize App Result on Apple Search Ads


Marketers, here you need to sit idle! Apple creates the advertisement on behalf of you. If you are not happy with the app, then even you are helpless as you cannot change it. In order to prepare an ad, Apple uses metadata and imaginary from your app listed on the App Store.

Before moving ahead to run the campaigns, create a robust metadata applying powerful ASO (App Store Optimization) strategy and help Apple in making an incredible ad for your app. Later on, when you update metadata of the app, the tech giant could take a full day to reflect those changes in your Search Ads.

Demographics of Target Market

Bifurcate your target audience into various segments based on their gender and age. For example; if your targeted users are women, then you can bid on women. Your ad will not be visible to the male gender. This helps in reducing the cost of your campaign.

In case you are not clear about your target market, then it is suggestive to run the campaign for all for a few weeks. Once you have enough data, analyze the data, define the age and gender of your target market, and accordingly modify your campaigns to meet the trends.


Apple offers Cost-per-Tap (CPT) model where marketers only pay when the user taps on the ad. Just like Google AdWord, the actual cost of tapping is a result of a second price auction. Analyze what your competitors are paying for a tap on their ads and accordingly define your maximum CPT bid.

Let’s say an example; if you bid $0.50 per tap and your competitor bids $0.45 per tap, then you would win the bid in auction resulting in a CPT of $0.46. Here all you need to do is to make a decision how much you want to pay/bid for a tap.

Campaign Structure

One of the essential elements that affect the performance of your app on the App Store. Design a full proof campaign strategy before moving ahead with Apple Search Ads. It is quite similar to paid Bing/AdWords mobile app install campaigns.

To simplify the campaign structure, divide the AdWord campaign into three different parts. It helps you in getting a detailed understanding of various performance metrics such as conversation rates, install volumes, and CPIs. Design a strategic campaign structure that covers all essential keywords related to your brand, competitors, and general.

Insertion of high volume keywords in the campaign enables marketers to achieve top visibility within a specific budget. Use the other keywords in the auction to improve CPI results and scale up app performance on the App Store.

Keyword Structure

Once you are done with campaign structure, the very next step is selection of the best keywords and ad group. Select the important keywords and unite them in a meaningful way and convert them into single keyword by applying a broad match and exact match of different keywords.

Well, there is no guarantee that the match will be perfect. You might miss a few keywords in this process. So, it is suggestive to maintain search query report on the regular basis during the first week of the running campaign. After two months, you can attain reduced cross-contamination between ad groups that improve overall results.

It helps Apple in selecting the keyword that should be placed in the auction. Thus, instead of having two words competing in the same auction, try to use one keyword that is not only exact but also a right one.

Search Match

It’s an amazing feature of Apple Search Ads that automatically matches your ad to users who are looking for similar types of apps. It is a replica of AdWord dynamic search ads where marketers do not need to select the keywords, but the App Store finds relevant keywords for the app.

While launching the campaign, keep this feature off on every ad group. Create new groups within the Search Match and turn on the feature without inserting any keyword in it. Later on, add targeted keywords as negatives in the created groups with the aim of mining new keywords. It aids marketers in understanding user query trends, scaling up app visibility, and discovering new keywords.

User Targeting

One of the advanced offerings of Apple Search Ads where marketers have the options to target new users or current users for the campaign. So, run your re-engagement or acquisition campaign from the App Store only. App publishers have four types customers to choose from:

  • All users
  • Have downloaded my app
  • Have not downloaded my app
  • Have downloaded my other apps

Most of the marketers pick “Have not downloaded my app” in order to gain new user acquisition. It is quite tough to stay top on the mind of users, while you have competitors in millions. Apple Search Ads is a great platform to increase user retention and decrease churn rate. Always stay in front of your customers by showing them your ads while they are downloading other apps.

Hope, this article helps you in improving user engagement using the new Apple Search Ads. Being a leading app marketing company, Intuz team always eager to adopt each new functional update released for the Apple. Stay tuned with us to explore about more recent updates on iOS and Apple.

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