Apple’s Powerful New Ads Take Your App Straight to the Top

While other online giants like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn have been in the advertising business for years, Apple has only just announced its own advertising platform: Apple Search Ads.

This new development is huge news as it offers a new avenue to promote apps and boost sales for users of iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products. With proper App Store Optimization, your use of Apple Search Ads can improve your marketing and put your product in front of just the right audience.

We put Apple Search Ads to the test with our own inBudget app for private and public budgeting. Here’s what we learned:

Setting Up Your Apple Search Ad

Campaign settings

The first step in launching an Apple Search Ad is to set your budget. We recommend taking advantage of their “Maximum Daily Spend” tool, which allows you to put a cap on how much of your budget is spent in one day. This effectively spreads your advertisement out over the duration of your scheduled period.

Apple also allows you to use “negative keywords” to filter your app from results for unnecessary searches. For example, if your app is centered around dessert recipes, you can use “dinner recipes” as a negative keyword. This way, your app won’t be wasted in promotion to someone who is looking for a full meal recipe rather than a dessert recipe.

Ad Group Settings

Once you’ve set your budget and your negative keywords, you move on to your Ad Group Settings. This is where you get into the details of who sees your advertisement and when. You can choose the storefront (in which country your advertisement is displayed), the device (iPhone, iPad, etc.), and what time of day your ad is displayed (termed “dayparting”). Ad Group Settings are also where you can set Cost-per-Acquisition goals, which will help to maximize your impressions and downloads.

Ad Group Keywords

Ad Group Settings is the place where the more information you have about your customer, the better. Target your advertisement based on the age and gender of your average customer, or make it specific to a device if you know that your app is primarily used by iPad or iPhone users. Understanding your audience is also key for setting your keywords and negative keywords — if you know the audience for your app is primarily fantasy gamers, you can set “fantasy game” as a keyword and “sports game” as a negative keyword. The more specific and effective your ad, the better.

Ad Group Audience

Apple has added a lot of value to their Search Ads feature by including a detailed Reports section. Here you can delve into statistics like Impressions, Touches, Conversions, and more to see exactly how effective your ad is in converting viewers into customers. This information can also help you to understand which of your keywords are the most effective; you can put certain keywords on pause if you know that they are underperforming.

Words to the Wise

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started:

  • Plan your campaign in advance! The campaign creator does not let you save your progress and start over, so be prepared to work quickly and get everything together in one shot. Once your campaign is created, you can go back and edit your Ad Group Settings and Campaign Settings.
  • To get the most bang for your buck, make sure that your team has prepared excellent screenshots and descriptions for your app. The last thing that you want to have happen is for a visitor to click through only to be disappointed by what they see.
  • Search Ads is currently available only in the US storefront, and you cannot edit time zones. If you’re working from outside the United States, be sure to take the time zone conversion into account so that your ad isn’t launching in the middle of the night!
  • Don’t forget about Campaign Management API for those who wish to manage their campaigns programmatically.

If you are looking to promote your app to iOS users, take advantage of Apple Search Ads now to get your advertisement in front of potential users. Of course, it is still possible to promote Android apps through Google Play Search Ads. All advertising channels are good — just pick the right one for your audience.

Apple Ads is live on the App Store starting from October 5th, 2016, and Apple is currently offering a promotion of a $100 free credit towards your first campaign.


Have an idea or tip on how to make better use of Apple Search Ads? Leave a comment below to spread the knowledge!

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