How to set up Apple Search Ads

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 73% remain with Android, Apple users are more inclined to install paid products and spend more on in-app purchases. Therefore, advertising in the App Store is fully justified and paid for. It remains only to configure it correctly.

Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads. Where to start?

So, the application is created and published. What’s next? And 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 work out the structure of the account. It should be meaningful, logical, and not too complicated, as you will have to manage it in the future.

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

Compilation of the semantic core: subtleties and recommendations

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

Does the brand need protection?

Most often, the answer will be yes, as competitors can 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 settings. This can be the name of the application, and the trademark, and even the names of the developers in case of their increased popularity.

Do you need competitor traffic?

Let’s start with the fact. Over 50% of App Store searches are branded. And this is an impressive stream of targeted traffic. If competitors do not 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, the maneuver will be done in vain.

Do audience interests differ from location to location?

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

How much traffic do you need?

Do you want to attract the widest possible audience to the application, or focus on a relatively small but accurately drawn group? The answer to this question determines which type of match is worth choosing. 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 is more useful to help you focus on well-crafted queries.

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

Apple Search Ads traffic

For example, for a brand campaign, an exact match is the ideal solution. And for a Discovery campaign that helps find new searches based on current searches, it’s better to use a broad match.

Working with rates

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

How do I place 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 itself.

There are two ways to increase the likelihood 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. This increases the likelihood that Apple Search Ads will perceive the account as ready to pay for conversions, which means ready to attract them and reliable.
  2. Group key queries by performance. Use more effective queries in some ad groups and less effective ones in others, thereby not mixing statistics or misleading Search Ads algorithms.

How to track relevance?

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

There are two types of relevance:

  • Technical, which shows the link between the request and the advertisement. Determined based on category and metadata.
  • Actual. Shows the link between the request and the banner that is shown to the user. That is, it shows how the content of the advertisement matches the interests of the user.

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

Apple Search Ads TTR

Budget control

The successful result of advertising an application is not only a certain number of new users but also moderate costs. How not overpay and waste your budget? There are recommendations for this too:

  • First, assign a basic budget for the most effective queries, and then distribute the remainder among the less efficient ones. The first part will work to attract users and pay off, and the second will be beneficial in the long term.
  • Create ad groups by topic and move their management to the campaign level.
  • Use CPA goal (pay per action), making it easier to manage your budget.

What else to consider when setting up Apple Search Ads?

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

  • Each country needs to create its own campaign, even if its residents speak the same language.
  • It is also important to adapt the metadata to the cultural and social characteristics of the region.
  • Working with tracking service, it is necessary to set the same time zone in it as in the advertising account.
  • It is useful to use the data of organic users to configure audience parameters. At the same time, advertising launch should be carried out in several stages, testing different combinations of parameters.
  • Automatic targeting can be entrusted to the Search Match tool, which will assess the relevance of the search queries used.

And most importantly. When applying this or that recommendation or algorithm of actions, it is worth considering the peculiarity 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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