January 8th 2020
If you have an iOS mobile app and you’re looking to get downloads at scale, Apple Search Ads is one of the best ways to achieve it. Here are some bitesize items you should know before getting started, or if you’re in the middle of running a campaign:
- ASA uses keyword targeting much like Google Ads, the platform allows you to target individual terms on an exact, broad, and phrase basis. The one thing to look out for is Apple’s expanded targeting known as ‘Search March’, it’s a checkbox you’ll find when setting up your ad group, which essentially tells the platform to find matches for your ad based on the user rather than a close variation of the keyword, this feature can either be a huge benefit to getting your app out there to new users (especially in a search platform that doesn’t allow for much in terms of scale) however it does mean you’ll need more control over search terms as costs can spiral. As with Google and Bing, negative keywords are a must
- Apple’s equivalent to cost-per-click is called, cost-per-tap, the CPT bid is what you are prepared to pay for a user to ‘tap’ on your ad after a user searches for a term and sees your ad, as with CPC, the higher the CPT bid, the more likely your ad is to get served. ASA then uses at ‘tap-through rate’ (TTR) to tell you the rate of taps in related to the number of impressions. From there, the other main metrics to take note of, are the number of installs, and the conversion rate, which is the rate of installs over the number of taps on the ad
- Ensure that you are targeting the most appropriate users for your app, during the ad group set up, you’ll be asked whether you want to target ‘all users’ or ‘new users’, which effectively means your ad will show or not show if a user has already downloaded the app. Depending on business strategy and priorities, this could mean eliminating existing users who are already engaged with the brand, or on the flip side, targeting existing users with cross-sell promotions
- Make use of the iTunes promotional text feature – This is promotional text that you add to your app which will show when a user searches and see your ad, or the organic listing of your ad. This is beneficial as it means you can ad the text without the need for a new release to the app store
- For advanced tracking, think about linking an MMP (mobile marketing platform) to track further events on your app such as a registration or an e-commerce event, this will allow you to tie back a cost-per-acquisition or return on ad spend down to campaign, ad group, and keyword level
At the time of writing, Apple Search Ads is not available in certain countries, here’s the current up to date list, check before you embark on your install journey.