The Evolution of Apple Search Ads, Post 3: Capturing Early Interest with Search Tab Ads


Apple Search Ads have expanded to include placements like Search tab ads, which capture user attention before they begin searching. These ads are vital, as 70% of App Store users rely on search to discover apps. By showcasing app names, icons, and subtitles early, Search tab ads enhance app visibility and influence user consideration, leading to higher engagement and download rates.

Welcome to part three of our series on Apple Search Ads. In our first post, “The Evolution of Apple Search Ads: The Omnichannel Opportunity for App Marketers”, we explored how Apple Search Ads has expanded its placements to include the Today tab ads, Search tab ads, and product page ads.

This omnichannel/full-funnel strategy allows marketers to reach users at multiple touchpoints while on the App Store, increasing awareness, nurturing consideration, and driving downloads.

As we continue to explore the power of a multi-placement ad strategy, we turn our focus to a placement that captures users’ attention before they even start typing in the search field with Search tab ads. Unique in their positioning, these ads offer a prime opportunity to influence potential users early in their App Store journey.

Search tab ads 101

Search tab ads showcase the name of your app, icon, and subtitle, providing users with a preview of your app before they even begin their search. Connecting early is crucial on the App Store since 70% of App Store visitors use search to discover and research new apps. Unlike ads in search results, which are query-specific, Search tab ads have the potential to reach a wider audience, increasing general awareness of your app.

As users explore, this early introduction makes your ad stand out during the journey. which builds the solid foundation for a comprehensive multi-placement app marketing plan. Search tab ads offer the unique opportunity to capture early use interest and potentially insert that app into the user’s consideration set.

Marketers believe that brands in the initial consideration set are more likely to be purchased eventually than brands considered only later in the decision journey. This underlines the critical role of early visibility in the consumer decision-making process. By ensuring that your app is among the first that consumers think of when they begin their journey, you greatly increase your chances of being selected over competitors.

Best practices for Search tab ads

Search tab ads are unique because they appear before the hunt for a new app begins, basically greeting users at the starting line. But you must remember that these ads are pushed to users rather than being triggered at the time of a relevant keyword search.

Here are some tips for creating a memorable first impression with Search tab ads:

Optimize the App Store icon: Leverage your ad’s visual elements to stand out. A compelling icon and a clear, concise message can significantly impact tap-through rates.

Monitor and adapt: Keep an eye on performance metrics specific to the Search tab placement.

Enhance customer reengagement: To re-attract previous customers, utilizing Search tab ads alongside standard search results ads can be effective — they serve as timely reminders about your app when customers are considering a download.

Boosting key app events: Leveraging Search tab campaigns during seasonal events or highlighting a new app launch can significantly enhance visibility during these crucial times.

Search tab ads in a multi-placement strategy

While Search tab ads warmly welcome your audience, they’re only a piece of the puzzle. Use these ads in combination with other Apple Search Ads placements to drive full-funnel engagement from discovery to download.

Maximize the power of discovery with Today tab ads

When users open the App Store, they’re greeted with the Today tab. Placing your app where more than half a billion people start their App Store journey each week is a unique opportunity for a first impression. Then, when users open the Search tab, finding your app again will drive awareness.

Drive downloads with product page ads

On the App Store, product page ads appear when users view another app’s details. The ads let you promote your app to interested users when they’re browsing different pages across the App Store. Adding this placement will expand your reach and drive downloads from relevant users.

A powerful pair: Search tab ads and search results ads

Combining Search tab ads with search results ads unlocks the power of a complete search strategy. While Search tab ads capture initial curiosity, ads in search results target specific, high-intent searches. This synergy offers advertisers continuous visibility throughout the user’s search journey by piquing initial interest and then informing during decision-making.

Search tab ads increase the likelihood of conversion by keeping your app top-of-mind during every phase of the search process. Users transition from exploring broad topics on the Search tab to entering specific queries that trigger targeted search results ads. Using both types of ads ensures audiences consistently encounter your app in new contexts. This repeated exposure fosters the kind of familiarity essential for building trust and boosting conversion rates.

Guiding users from broad to specific search contexts optimizes the conversion pathway, a pivotal aspect of a successful multi-placement campaign. Think of Search tab ads as a bridge from awareness to action, leveraging the organic progression of the search process. Meeting users in the discovery phase and building on that initial engagement through search results ads creates the sustained engagement crucial for securing app downloads in a competitive market. Those two first nudges combined form the foundation for a strategy that maximizes visibility and boosts the efficiency of your Apple Search Ads campaigns by capturing users at multiple points in their search journey.

Master Apple Search Ads as the foundation of your app marketing program

Apple remains the most popular smartphone brand in the US, with more than two out of every three smartphone users owning an iPhone. The App Store continues to grow, with consumer spending reaching $89.3 billion in 2023. Because of this, Apple Search Ads is a crucial tool for companies seeking to promote their apps. A solid, multi-placement ad strategy enables businesses to showcase their apps to users at critical moments, whether actively seeking relevant services or exploring app categories.

In our next post, we’ll explore the transformative impact of Today tab ads and how these ads and the other Apple Search Ads placements work together to achieve app marketing success.

Skai + Apple Search Ads

As part of Skai’s omnichannel marketing platform, our App Marketing solution helps your app stand out. Skai leverages an advanced algorithm based on AI and machine learning to ensure your ads reach your target users. Increase installs and user acquisition on the App Store with streamlined automation, optimization, and reporting.

For more information on how Skai can help you maximize your app investment, please schedule a brief demo with our team.