App Ads Optimization- Part 2: Apple Search Ads

As I said before, I want to write about app ads optimization, however splitting into different posts was inevitable since the topic itself is very broad and detailed. After Google App Ads optimization has been discussed on the part:1 post, today I will talk about Apple App Ads optimization.

With Apple Search Ads, you can promote your apps at the top of search results on the App Store. It’s an efficient and easy way to help people discover your app on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. There are two Apple Search Ads solutions designed for varying levels of expertise, resources, budget, and experience with paid app marketing. Apple Search Ads Basic helps you to create app search add with minimal effort where you are not able to use keywords or audience refinements with up to $10,000 monthly budget.On the other hand, Advanced level is more helpful for who wants to control campaigns and the audiences and they are not limited with any budget bracket. Consequently, optimization recommendations I will talk are for those who manage apple search ads advance level.

Original Apple Image for ASA product

Structure ad groups under related campaigns

You should set your campaign structure in  Apple search the same as your Google search campaigns. Given that, you need to gather related ad groups with related keywords under related campaigns. If you haven’t done yet, create at least 4 campaigns each for brand searches, generic related searches, competitor app searches and to identify high-performing keywords. If you target multiple matches under one campaign, group them into different ad groups: one for exact, one for broad and one for search matches. 

In addition to this recommended campaign settings, you are free to split your audiences and specific regions into different campaigns. Let’s say the same structure evaluation is possible for North America and Latin America, separately. 

Improve your app metadata

As you know app name, screenshots, description, subtitles are part of app meta data. Having good metadata not only attracts your potential users but also supports your app’s search ranking. According to Apptweak, it is recommended to revise your app metadata once in a month. By optimizing your metadata occasionally, you will increase your app visibility and metrics. 

Compelling app name and value-proposition in subtitles could increase the rates of pageviews, conversions from impression to view or from view to install. When your potential user jumps into the product page, you need to encourage them to try your app. So your product page, description, screenshots, needs to focus on your app’s unique features and functionality. On your description, you can begin with a concise introduction of your app, and continue with an attention-grabbing paragraph that includes a short list of the app’s main features. Using your keywords in description is nice, however be careful to not waste your word limitations. Be creative instead of being repetitive. Lastly, test different screenshots or other visual assets to improve your conversion rate both through organic and paid. Apple Creative Sets is a nice tool for you to try A/B test. You can have up to 20 ad variations per ad group with Creative Sets, therefore, try more ad variations that align to your ad group keyword themes or audiences. 

Also, keep your eye on your competitors. Check what keywords they are paying for, how their metadata is etc. You may even want to bid for some keywords in order to compete with them.

Use right keyword match types

There are 3 different match types you can use with Apple Search Ads: exact, broad and search. However, according to Appflyer’s search, there are distinct differences between these matches.


Their search concluded that the exact match has the highest TTR(tap-through-rate) and CR( conversion rate) . Even though exact matches cost more, what those searches bring is more valuable. As a result of more relevant content, exact matches are more likely to perform your desired actions.

Another important point for keyword optimization in Apple search ads is adding long tail and specific keywords increase your TTR and CR as well. However as the words in keyword increases CPA and CPT increase.

Don’t forget to add negative keywords

Imagine, you have different campaigns with different matches.Then, how can you reassure yourself the keywords you target in your exact match campaign don’t trigger your broad or search match campaigns? By adding these keywords as an exact negative to your broad and search match campaigns. Otherwise, you will have 2 or more campaigns compete against each other for a same keyword. That will increase your CPT and CPA. It is important that adding every Exact Match keyword needs to be set as a Negative Keyword for your Broad and Search Match campaigns.  If you identify a promising keyword through your Search Match campaigns: pause it, add it to your exact campaign and add it as negative to your Broad and search match campaigns. 

Bids, bids, bids…

When you apply many changes on your Apple search ads, you also need to measure and watch your bids over time through both for your campaigns and ad groups. No matter how good metadata you use or how good you structure your keywords, your bids needed to be taken care of by you. Because your bids not only depend on you both also depend on the market you compete for, just as Google search ads. Be dedicated to your KPI and monitor your bids all the time. See if there is any keyword with low CPT but high CPA, is it non-convertible? Or the keywords with TTR with low CPT, is it possible to increase your pageviews if you increase your CPT?  If you even want to move forward your analyses, check the relationship between IOS and other online channels. Nonetheless, be loyal to your KPI.

Conclusion:

Personally, I consider Apple search ads the same as Google search ads. The logic behind these channels is very similar. You need to optimize your campaigns, and revise your ads, keywords, creatives, campaign structure and bids regularly. It takes time to reach a desirable level, but you need to be patient. It is a very dynamic process.  As I mentioned above, it is not only how much effort you put in, this is an auction based ad platform.

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