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How to set up Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads is a user-friendly service that was launched in 2016 and since then has brought together thousands of iOS app developers. Today iOS holds 27% of the mobile app market. And although the other 73% continue to use Android phones, Apple users are more likely to install paid products and spend more on in-app purchases. Therefore, advertising in the App Store is fully justified and paid for. The only thing left is to set it up correctly.

Apple Search Ads. Where to Begin?

So, the application has been finished and published. What’s next? After that then you need to open the main page of Search Ads and enter your Apple ID to register an account.

The next (and still preparatory) step is to figure out the structure of the account. It should be meaningful, logical, and not too complicated, since it will have to be managed and monitored later on.

For the structure, you’ll need to collect information on the target audience, and in accordance with this data, fill in the basic campaign settings and segment the audience according to the main parameters.

Putting a semantic core together: subtleties and recommendations

To select the main keywords, you can use the familiar planner from Google. It’s important to take into account the campaign’s geography and goals. If everything is simple with the first parameter, then the second should be given more attention. When collecting key phrases, it’s worth answering the following questions.

Is Brand Protection Needed?

Most often, the answer will be yes, as competitors can quite legally use your brand for their advertising. To avoid this, you need to prepare a list of brand queries that will be used in the campaign’s settings. This may be the name of the application, the trademark, and even the names of the developers if they are particularly popular.

Do you need competitor traffic?

Let’s start with a simple fact. More than 50% of queries in the App Store are branded searches. And this is an impressive flow of targeted traffic. If competitors don’t use Apple Search Ads or their branded queries in it, then it is quite possible to “redirect” their organic traffic to their application using the same branded queries. In this case, it is important that both the ad and the application are relevant to the interests of the user. Otherwise, it will be carried out in vain.

Are audience interests different from different locations?

Queries for different locations can differ not only by specifying a specific region but also by mentioning different features and functions of the application.

What kind of traffic do you need?

Do you want to reach the widest possible audience for your application, or do you want to focus on a relatively small but well-defined group? The answer to this question depends on which type of match you should choose. In the first case, a broad match will do. In this case, it is better to select high-frequency keys. In the second option, an exact match will be more useful, which will help you focus on carefully crafted queries.

The chosen campaign strategy can be a hint for choosing a match.

For example, for a branded campaign, an exact match would be ideal. And for a Discovery campaign that helps you find new searches based on current ones, it’s better to use a broad match.

Working with bidding

The bid that wins an auction is important for showing an ad. And for further efficiency and high CTR, the relevance of advertising to the interests of users is important. Therefore, winning auctions means setting a competitive bid and checking the relevance of keywords with further adjustment of their values.

How to make competitive bids?

The cost of a keyword depends on the bid and budget of the campaign. These parameters are set at the campaign, ad group, and ad level.

There are two ways that increase the chance of winning an auction:

  1. At the ad group level, a CPA (pay per action) goal is set, and a CPT (pay per click) bid is set at the keyword level. In this case, it is more likely that Apple Search Ads will perceive the account as ready to pay for conversions, and therefore ready to attract them.
  2. Group keywords according to performance. Use more effective queries in some ad groups and less effective ones in others so as to not mix statistics and mislead the Search Ads algorithms.

How do you track relevance?

Ads that give users what they are looking for are relevant. And in order to assess their compliance with this characteristic, you should use the TTR (Tap Through Rate) metric, which can be found in the advertising account.

There are two kinds of relevance:

  • Technical, which shows the connection between the query and the advertisement. This is determined based on category and metadata.
  • Actual. Displays the link to the request to the banner that is shown to the user. In other. words, it shows how the content of the advertisement corresponds to the interests of the user.

To improve the effectiveness of advertising, it’s important to monitor both kinds of relevance. For different categories of applications, the optimal TTR level will differ. The Utilities and Music category is the easiest to win over an audience while the Sports Apps category is the hardest. When evaluating the TTR for your campaigns, you can focus on the chart below, but you should also take into account factors such as geography, market characteristics, competitor advertising, etc.

Maintaining the Budget

The successful result of app advertising is not only a certain number of new users but also the moderate cost. How do not overpay and not drain your budget? For this, we also have some recommendations:

  • First, assign a core budget to the most efficient queries, and then distribute the remainder to the less efficient ones. The first part will work to attract users and pay off, and the second will provide benefits later on.
  • Create ad groups according to the topic and move their management to the campaign level.
  • Use the CPA objective to make managing the budget easier.

What else should I think about when setting up Apple Search Ads?

We offer a number of recommendations that will simplify the work with Search Ads and improve the quality of advertising:

  • You need to create your own campaign for each country, even if people there speak the same language.
  • It is also important to adapt the metadata to the cultural and social featuers of the region.
  • When working with a tracking service, you have to set the same time zone in it as in the advertising account.
  • It’s useful to use organic user data to customize your audience settings. At the same time, launching advertising should be carried out in several stages, testing different combinations of parameters.
  • Automatic targeting can be trusted with the Search Match tool, which will evaluate the relevance of the search queries used.

And now the most important thing. When applying any recommendation or algorithm of actions, it’s worth taking into account the peculiarities of the application and its audience, constantly monitoring the result of the changes made, and responding in time to an increase or decrease in the effectiveness of advertising.

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