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  • Scott Kaplan

3 Reasons Why You Should Use Apple Search Ads


Apple Search Ads launched in 2016 and has quickly become a popular channel in the iOS mobile growth space.


Singular rated Apple Search Ads as a “must-have ad partner” in its 2020 ROI index. For long-time search marketers who cut their teeth on Google Ads this should come as no surprise.


Search marketing has been a top 3 growth channel for many businesses looking to scale online. The value prop for search ads is palatable — someone is looking for a product or service, advertiser pairs that search with a relevant ad.


Paid Search campaign management is nuanced and an acquired taste, however. Many find it overwhelming and boring. Lots of data points and levers. With all that said, if you aren’t running Apple Search Ads for your app, you should.


Here are my three reasons why you should try Apple Search Ads.


1. Apple Search Ads Reach an Engaged, Quality Audience


Search is a “pull” channel. The customer has already expressed interest in your product or service (or a relevant one). That user intent translates to better downstream performance vs. many “push” channels, even those with robust targeting. Checkout hubspot’s explanation of push vs. pull marketing channels.


We did an analysis of one of our clients looking at the purchase-to-install conversion rate of Apple Search Ads vs. a leading ad network.


Apple Search Ads showed a 54.8% better conversion rate vs. the other network. Did branded keywords change the narrative? Nope. Non-branded terms showed a 44% better conversion rate vs. the other network. These trends held consistent over a 90-day period. I’ve also seen similar trends across other mobile advertisers as well.


2. Apple Search Ads Provide Tremendous Control


I honestly could have stopped at point #1, “but wait, there’s more!”


If you’re a control-freak, Apple Search Ads are right up your alley. You have access to many levers (when combined can be in the thousands).


Listing all the levers is beyond the scope of this post but here’s a few to whet your appetite:


  • Keyword

  • Match Type

  • Keyword Bid

  • Location

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Time of Day

  • Device Type (iPhone / iPad)

  • Day of Week

  • Audience Type (New Download / Redownload)

  • Creatives


3. Apple Search Ads Support App Store Optimization (ASO)


Apple Search Ads keyword data – especially when paired with downstream data from a mobile measurement partner (MMP) – are extremely useful when trying to prioritize what keywords you’re trying to optimize for ASO.


While there’s no guarantee that organic and paid keywords will perform identically, you can be sure they’ll be directionally aligned.


In addition to Apple Search Ads providing rich data from both the native console and an MMP (when applicable), Apple Search Ads data provides the advantage of speed. ASO is a big Black Box. It takes time for keyword rankings to take effect.


Caveat with all this is that you may need to intentionally overspend to collect data to inform ASO efforts. However, even in a competitive space you can get ample learnings for less than four figures.


Last but not least, Apple weighs favorably installs from search ads into its organic ranking algorithms.


In Summary


Give Apple Search Ads a shot! There’s plenty of upside balanced by controls to mitigate risk.


What do you think are the advantages of running Apple Search Ads? Do you have a list of your own? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

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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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