Search
  • Scott Kaplan

Bidding on Your Branded Keywords in Apple Search Ads: A Practical Approach (Part #1)

Updated: May 15

While it’s 2020, the question of whether you should bid on your own branded terms still comes up. In this post I’ll: 1) make the argument why you should bid on your brand’s terms and 2) give you a framework for how to manage your brand’s keyword bids.


In the first of my two-part series, I’ll explain why you should bid on branded terms and talk you through the “always on” approach to branded keyword bidding. These tactics assume you have an Apple Search Ads Advanced account. If you’re not sure the difference between Apple Search Ads Basic vs. Advanced, check out our post “Apple Search Ads: Basic or Advanced?”.


Why You Should Bid on Your Brand Terms

The argument against bidding on branded terms is a logical one – paid branded keywords cannibalize your free/organic queries. In a perfect world, 100% of branded queries would be picked up by your organic listing. But that’s not reality.


Although Apple doesn’t publish this, according to our estimates at Adoya, over 50% of App Store queries are branded. This includes competitors bidding on other brands (a.k.a. “conquesting”). This means if you’re not bidding on your brand’s terms, a competitor will. You can’t have that.


The “Always On” Approach Branded Keyword Bidding

This should be reserved for advertisers with deep pockets and massive budgets that take an “always on” approach to brand. This approach may come from you or the c-suite. There’s not much nuance here. You try to get as many installs as possible while keeping cost per tap / cost per install in check. The challenge is that Apple doesn’t provide detailed impression share metrics.


Steps:

1) Put branded keywords in their own campaign.

2) Regularly increase (2-3x per week) keyword bids 10-15%.

3) Ensure a 10-15% percent campaign budget buffer.

4) Drop bids 10-15% if overall branded campaign cost per install is above your target cost per install target.

5) Stop when: 1) you’ve reached the install volume inflection point, 2) your cost per install threshold is in range and 3) you’ve been able to maintain this steady state for 7-10 days.

6) Rinse and repeat as needed.


What has your experience been like with bidding on your branded terms? Next week, I’ll walk you through the more nuanced, incremental approach to bidding on branded terms.


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1. App Store data from all available countries and regions (excluding China), 2018 (https://searchads.apple.com).
2. Appsflyer 2019 Performance Index (https://www.appsflyer.com/performance-index).

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