Americans love their Apple–and no I don’t mean the fruit that supposedly keeps the doctor away if eaten once a day. Apple products dominate the technology market, with the average American household owning 2.6 Apple products. The rise of Apple came with the use of Apps and overall activity in the app store. If you want to download a specific app or you’re simply just trying to browse what’s new with mobile apps, you go straight to the app store. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Apple introduced Apple Search Ads or “App Search Ads”–an advertising option for mobile apps.

We put together a cheat sheet with our favorite tips and tricks to know if you’re ready to get started with App Search Ads or trying to optimize your existing paid search App Store campaigns.

What are App Search Ads?

After launching in 2016, App Search Ads quickly became the easiest way to let users find your company’s app in the App Store. With approximately 70% of Apple Store users using search to discover an app, these ads can be extremely beneficial to market towards iOS users.

It is also important to understand that there are two views when creating your ads on the platform: Basic and Advanced. In today’s article, we will be discussing the Advanced view.

Now that we have an idea of what App Search Ads are, let’s get into some details.

How App Search Ads Work

  • Relevancy: Your advertisement will appear based on how relevant it is to the users’ search query. The best way to control this will depend on how you bid on relevant keywords.
  • Pricing: As for pricing, App Search works on a Cost Per Tap Auction, similar to Cost Per Click. This means you only pay when a user engages with your ad, up to a maximum price that you choose.
  • Attribution: You can measure value at scale with APIs and install data natively in the UI, which is acquired directly from the App Store.

Understanding Creative Sets

Your default ads are instantly created from your app’s screenshots, preview videos, and description, which you upload to the App Store Connect. But last year, Apple introduced an awesome new feature, Creative Ads, that helps improve ad performance by testing different ad variations.

  • Creative sets allow you to leverage all of your App Store screenshots and previews to create different ad variations that can configure ad images to match certain audiences or keywords.
  • You can have up to 10 ad variations per ad group with Creative Sets.
  • Some things you might want to test with this feature are demographic targeting, video vs. static ads, or even new vs. returning users.
  • Pro Tip: For creative sets, do not pick more than 3 static images even though it is an option. It will limit the number of creative sets available when you use more images.

Leverage data and reporting

The best part about App Search Ads is the app install data that comes native on the platform. In your App Search Ads account, you have several tools to help analyze and manage your results. The key metrics that provide the most insight are:

  • Big Strength Insight: On the Dashboard under “Keywords”, all of your keywords have a variety of statistics that determine how well your keywords are doing. Under the column “bid strength” you can find three main colors that will indicate if your keyword is weak or not. Red is weak, yellow is fairly weak, and green is strong.
  • Managing campaigns: Under the Campaigns tab, you have the option of adding the columns: LAT On Conversions, LAT Off Conversions, New Downloads, and Redownloads.

○ New downloads: are totally new users or the number of people who have never downloaded your app on any of their IOS devices

○ Re-downloads: have previously downloaded the app at some point.

○ As for LAT, this refers to Limited Ad Tracking, a feature that users can turn on to prevent their device from receiving targeted advertising.

  • Custom Reports: Apple allows you to create custom reports to see your data the way you want to. You can choose dimensions and metrics, run extensive queries, and even easily schedule reports.

Final Thoughts

We are continuously learning how to best navigate and utilize App Store Search Ads to optimize our campaigns, but for now, it is obvious that these Ads will become a crucial piece of the marketing puzzle in the near future. We hope these key insights will help you better understand this platform and ultimately lead you to launch successful campaigns.

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