Do you have an application that you want to propel to the top of the App Store? With enough time, it can land there on its own if it is perfectly optimized and you are continuously working on improving your ASO. On the other hand, if you want a quick way to rank, you should seriously consider promoting it with Apple Search Ads advertising.
Whether for a successful launch or one-time support for downloads, this is the best way to position your application immediately at the top of search results. Follow our guide to find out how to do it.
How does Apple Search Ads advertising work?
Why choose Apple Search Ads
With Apple Search Ads advertising, you can instantly gain visibility on the App Store for iPhones and iPads. You can even choose the device to target if you only want to promote your application on one or the other. Advertisements are available in two formats. They appear on a blue background and feature a small icon to indicate that it is an advertisement.
Paying to boost your application can be very rewarding, as the figures provided by Apple Ads speak for themselves: the majority of downloads are based on searches, and the advertising conversion rate is 50% on the App Store. This means that one in two visitors went as far as downloading the application after tapping the ad. Note that in Apple advertising, we refer to “tapping” an ad rather than “clicking” on an ad. It’s a little strange at first, but you get used to it.
Few platforms can boast such a high conversion rate. In addition, the costs are relatively low thanks to a relatively low cost per tap (CPT). Depending on the field of activity, this can vary greatly, but Apple provides bid indicators when creating the campaign, which will allow you to assess the volume of potential interactions based on your budget.
Moreover, displaying a paid ad doesn’t prevent you from organically appearing in the results. It even gives you a little extra boost, because you are also more likely to appear in the top ten search results by advertising.
Now that you know the platform’s advantages, let’s dive into how it works to start your first Apple Ads campaign.
Getting started with Apple Search Ads advertising
Before you even log in or create your account, you have to choose between the “Basic” or “Advanced” option:
- With a “Basic” account, you give Apple full control. The system will create the campaign on its own. All you have to do is give them the name of your application(s) (maximum 50) and your budget (as long as it is under US$10,000 per month). You only pay for application installations, with a maximum cost per installation defined in advance;
- With an “Advanced” account, you can target using keywords and choose your audience. You can promote an unlimited number of applications and have no spending limit. You pay by the tap, with a maximum cost per tap of your choosing. You also have access to more advanced tracking features to better manage campaigns.
You can easily switch from one account type to another if you change your mind or if you want to test both. However, there is no need to advertise simultaneously on both for the same application, since only one advertisement will be admissible for bidding.
Create Apple Search Ads
Advertising with a “Basic” account
Little information is needed by Apple Ads to start your ads. To create an account, simply log in with your Apple ID. This must be associated with the App Store Connect account of the application you want to promote, and you must have a role as a legal owner, administrator or marketer. Without this, you will not be able to advertise on Apple Ads, because the two tools will not link.
You will then be asked to enter various information about the account settings: language, account name, your country or region, time zone, payment method, currency, etc. Finally, to create the campaign, simply select the application, choose the geographical locations to target, enter your monthly budget, and define a maximum cost per installation.
Your campaign will then be ready to launch, since Apple Ads will use intelligent automation to promote it and retrieve the application’s metadata including its name, description, screenshots, etc. to create ads.
However, a “Basic” account is quite restrictive, which is why choosing an “Advanced” account is often more appropriate in order to unlock more features.
Advertising on Apple Ads with an “Advanced” account
As with a “Basic” account, you will need to enter basic information to start your account, such as language, account name, country or region, time zone, payment method, currency, etc.
Then, when creating a campaign, once you have chosen your application, you will enter your geographical target, your budget and maximum cost per tap along with your keywords.
Apple Ads automatically activates an option called “Search Match”, which matches user search terms to your application. This avoids you having to draw up a list of keywords. However, for greater control of your ads, you can disable this option to decide which keywords will trigger your Apple Search Ads.
Once this step is complete, you can fine-tune your targeting by device type, demographics and geography, and then set up a distribution schedule.
Finally, the platform will generate previews of your ads so you can see them before you start your campaigns. You can also create additional visuals manually from the files associated with your account.
Once your ads start to appear, you can then analyze your performance using Apple’s dashboards and custom reports. The data is not displayed in real time, but the delay is very minor, as it only takes a maximum of 3 hours for the figures to update.
Whether you choose advanced management with an “Advanced” account or express setup with a “Basic” account, we will provide you with additional tips to make your Apple Search Ads perform even better.
Increase your application downloads
Optimize your app
As mentioned above, Apple will recover the metadata from your application to build the ads. Unlike other systems like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you can’t manually enter text for paid ads.
As such, it is essential to have well-founded metadata, which will also give it a better organic ranking at the same time. To do this, make sure you provide a subtitle and description that convince the user of your application’s added value. Do not neglect the visuals, whether the icon, screenshots or app previews. The App Store provides several tips to make your product page more attractive and help you make your choices.
Moreover, if you want your creation to be even more optimized, it is strongly recommended to build it as a native iOS application, preferably universal so that it works across the entire Apple product range.
In addition to this, we strongly recommend that you do your tests well before the launch of your application, in order to avoid errors that will result in negative reviews and discourage people from installing it. After all, reviews are very important for applications and can contribute greatly to their installations, whether through Apple Search Ads or organic searches.
Get the word out
Given the importance of reviews, it goes without saying that you should get as much feedback as possible by asking your users to rate you and leave a comment. Not only does positive feedback have the power to influence potential new users, it also gives you a better positioning in search results.
To make this easier, Apple offers the SKStoreReviewController API, which invites users to rate you without even having to close the application.
In the same way that it is important to get reviews, it is also good to answer comments and questions. This helps you identify flaws or areas for improvement and avoid losing visibility. Indeed, Apple can identify publishers who systematically ignore requests from their users and can remove them from search results.
Finally, if possible, you should spread the word about your application on social media. You can advertise it on Facebook, for example, and if you manage to appear in the media, it will encourage even more people to install.
Advertising with Apple Search Ads is sometimes essential to a successful launch in order to gain visibility that can only be achieved naturally over a long period of time. The category of your application or your objectives can help you choose the type of account you want. However, if you want to maximize the results, you can also hire experts to set up your campaigns and optimize them on an ongoing basis.