Generally, when we find ourselves in the App Store, we are most likely searching for the highest rated app for the lowest price.
And since the App Store has a pretty helpful search feature, those great apps are usually not very hard to find. For example, if you’re looking for a hiking app that includes GPS navigation and planning features for your next big adventure, you can probably find about 10 apps that meet those requirements within about 10 seconds. But for app marketers, this preponderance of choice means that you’re most likely duking it out with some other pretty great apps for those coveted top search spots.
That’s why investing in Apple Search Ads is more important than ever before.
What Are Apple Search Ads?
Apple Search Ads are sponsored text ads for driving awareness and app downloads within the App store. So, if a user searches “Mindfulness,” the name of a specific app will pop up right at the top of results. Apple Search Ads looks just like the listings for any other app except that they’ve got a blue background and ad disclosure icon. The ad can appear on iOS devices, including iPhone and iPad.
Apple Search Ads are a great way for marketers to get their apps discovered by users and also increase installs on devices. The majority of time spent with mobile devices is within apps (86%), so app developers need to have a strong launch program and ongoing marketing plan around user acquisition.
Here are a few common questions (and answers) about best practices when using this ad format:
What’s the difference between Apple Search Ads Basic and Apple Search Ads Advanced?
There are two different ways for marketers to manage their mobile app ad campaigns within Apple Search Ads:
Apple Search Ads Basic allows a max budget of $10,000 per app monthly, and up to 50 apps can be promoted. You can adjust your cost-per-install (CPI) based on ad performance. There is no functionality for keywords and targeting management – Apple’s automation and machine learning takes care of the rest.
Apple Search Ads Advanced features the ability to manage your own bids. ASA Advanced allows for an unlimited budget per app, and an unlimited number of apps can be promoted. Additionally, there is the ability to manage your own bids, and you can target keywords, audiences, and regions.
70% of visitors to the Apple Store use search to find an app, which makes rising to the top of search results of the utmost importance, as users are probably not going to spend their whole day scrolling through every app in the store.
Will buying an ad get me to the top of search results?
Well, according to Apple Search Ads, that depends on a few factors. The first is bidding. From the Apple website:
“Whether your ad shows over other advertisers bidding on that same query is determined by the combination of your app’s relevance to the search query and the amount of your bid.”
The other factor determining the success of your is keyword relevance:
“If your app isn’t relevant for what the user is looking for, it won’t make it into the ad spot — regardless of how much you may be willing to pay. Apple Search Ads considers both relevance as well as bidding, and does not put apps into auctions if they are not a good match.”
How do I make sure my ad is relevant?
To make sure your ads are rising to the top, focus on keyword relevance within your Apple Search Ads. One way to get a bit of help when it comes to keywords is to get started with Apple Search Ads Advanced, which is available to developers and agencies with an app currently in the App Store.
Then Apple Search Ads provides a list of keywords relevant to your app and its category. You can also add your own keywords, and Apple Search Ads will supply a list of related words to consider including as well. Nailing your keywords is the most important step to optimizing Apple Search Ads for maximum impact.
What are the conversion rates?
Most iOS users aren’t simply going into the App Store to browse, which is probably why the App Store boasts such impressive conversion rates. According to Apple Search Ads, 65% of app downloads occur immediately after a visit to the App Store. Furthermore, the company reports a 50% conversion rate for Apple Search Ads. Those numbers mean that optimizing Apple Search Ads is crucial for app developers looking to make sure their app is not just seen but downloaded from the App Store.
How do other big ad install types compare?
Of course, Apple Search Ads is not the only game in town. There are many different places for consumers to discover apps, such as Google Play and Facebook (which includes WhatsApp and Messenger). And app developers should absolutely seriously consider advertising options for all those mobile advertising platforms. But, here’s something that’s probably also worth considering: the App Store garnered 80% more revenue than Google Play in the first half of 2019, even as Google Play boasted more installs, which means understanding best practices for Apple Search Ads is still the best place to start, even if you’re planning to branch out into other stores.
Are you maximizing your Apple Search Ads program?
Skai App Marketing is the all-in-one, complete solution for app marketers to drive installs & increase engagement. Reach out today to schedule a free and quick demo to see how Skai App Marketing can help with your Apple Search Ads and other app marketing.