Why Apple Search Ads Are Vital for Developers

Anyone taking even a casual look at Apple’s App Store can’t fail to notice just how much choice there is on there. New apps are appearing at a rate of hundreds, even thousands per week, and competition for attention is fierce. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This is why it’s absolutely vital for any new app developer to consider utilizing Apple Search Ads before they go live. Today we’ll run you through some Apple search ads best practices, and exactly why you should be using them. 

What Are Apple Search Ads?

Launched in 2016, Apple Search Ads are a way to promote your app over your competitors in the App Store. The intention is to get your app downloaded by users that are actively using the search function to find what they’re looking for.   

How Do They work?

There are two types of searches you can pay for:

  • Basic – This is very much the hands-off approach for developers. You simply give Apple some basic information about your app, which regions you want to promote it in, and your budget limitations. Apple will then use an algorithm to match you to interested users. 

While you’ll get promoted above other apps of your type for as long as the budget lasts, you don’t get to pick any keywords to advertise against, meaning it can be a little difficult to target your audience accurately.

  • Advanced – Obviously the more expensive option, but one that allows you far more control. Here you get to choose keywords your users might target, segment your audience by age, gender, and location, choose the times your ads will appear in the store, and even whether you’d like your app to appear on only iPhones, iPads, or both.

What’s more, you can promote an unlimited number of apps and link your campaign up to the metadata on your app home page. This automatically promotes it based on keywords of both your own product and that of similar competitors.

How Expensive Are They?

This depends on the industry you operate in. At the most expensive range, you’ll find topics like finance, shopping, and travel, while at the lower end of the market are books, photography, and, perhaps surprisingly, music-related apps

You first set a budget of how much you’d like to spend, and you’ll be charged for every tap and download of your app. Prices can range anywhere between just $0.12 per tap up to around $4.00, while full installs may set you back between $0.23 and $7.50 each.

These figures are of course indicative and can vary significantly per campaign and by industry.  

Why Apple Search Ads Are So Important

They Help You cut Through the Noise

If you’re not using Apple Search Ads, there’s a good chance your app will simply be uploaded to the store and then lost forever in the crowd. Advertised apps will always feature above non-advertised ones, and there’s just far too much competition to hope for the best and think you’ll be found organically. 

While established developers might be able to leverage off their reputation, brand new ones will certainly struggle. It makes sense to set aside advertising as part of your budget. 

They’re the Only Advertising Channel Available

Apple Search Ads are the only promotional channel you can use in the App Store. Without them, you’d have no way to get your message out there.

They’re Ranked as the Third Best Advertising Network

You might be surprised to learn that Search Ads sit behind only Google and Facebook as the largest and most effective advertising network in the US in terms of the number of confirmed app installs. In fact, Apple even claims that its conversion rate is an incredible 50%, making it by far the most cost-effective platform to advertise on. 

You’ll Be Placed Above the Number One Organic Apps

Even if you have a competitor with millions of downloads that’s organically ranked as the number one app in your category, you’ll still be placed above it when you pay for ads. This allows developers to run strong campaigns against competitors and steal some market share.

You’ll Receive a Boost to Your Own Organic Search Results

Since advertising gives you more visibility within the store, your click rate is going to increase. Even if people don’t end up making a purchase or downloading your app, you’ll still benefit from increased traffic in standard search results.

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