• Scott Kaplan

The Basics of Apple Search Ads Keyword Research

Keywords are the cornerstone of any non-Search Match Apple Search Ads campaign. Effective keyword research helps you scale campaigns and drive campaign efficiency. However, selecting keywords can be overwhelming. How many keywords should I add per campaign/ad group? What are good keyword sources? In this post, we address these basic, but important questions.

Ideal Number of Keywords

Keeping your keyword list size small and manageable in the beginning is imperative. Start a campaign with 20-50 keywords and add 10-20 every one or two weeks as volume needs dictate. Add too many keywords and the volume will be spread too thin. You’ll have difficulty drawing actionable insights on your keyword set. Getting more data from each keyword is the better way to go. You’ll bid more intelligently and get better results in the long run.

Keyword Sources

Brainstorm yourself or with your team – You’re the best source of keywords. Think like an App Store user. What do you type in? For branded campaigns, come up with words and phrases that best reflect your brand. For non-branded keywords, come up with terms that reflect your app or business. Also think of top competitor names. Competitor keywords are a huge volume source.

Apple Search Ads Console – Apple provides recommended keywords directly in the console. Simply take the following steps:

  1. Click “Campaign.”

  2. Click “Ad Group.”

  3. Click “Add Keywords.”

  4. On the left-hand side you’ll see a vertical column with recommended keywords by Apple. The recommended keywords have a popularity ranking on the right which can aid the selection process. You should not blindly add all keywords but should review those that you deem are relevant to your business. You can also type in a word and Apple will recommend similar terms and provide popularity metrics.

Google Ads – Google has a free keyword tool. You can enter your App’s website URL or type in keywords (“seed” keywords) and Google will return hundreds if not thousands of recommendations. Note that Google Ads recommend terms for web, which may differ from App Store searches.

Discovery Campaign Search Terms – As mentioned previously, discovery campaigns are a great keyword source as they reflect terms Apple deems are relevant to your app. Avoid blindly adding all search terms. Add those that are performing strongly.

3rd Party Keyword Research Tools – There are countless tools available. Too many to list here. Simply Google “app store keyword tools” and you’ll have plenty of options. You definitely can’t go wrong with AppTweak.

What has your experience been like with Keyword Research tools? Any tips or tricks?

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1. App Store data from all available countries and regions (excluding China), 2018 (
2. Appsflyer 2019 Performance Index (

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