Apple Search Ads

Apple search ads (ASA) are paid adverts located at the top of the search results page on the iOS App Store.
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What are Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads (ASA) are paid adverts located at the top of the search results page on the iOS App Store. As Apple explains: “Grow your business by promoting your apps at the top of App Store Search.” 

In a marketplace where around 70% of visitors use the App Store actively search for apps/games and 65% of downloads occur directly after a search on the App Store, it’s worthwhile optimizing this behaviour by introducing ASA’s into a marketing strategy. However, tread carefully, if an app/game is likely to be found organically by users searching which comes for free, paying for ads can be an unnecessary expense, and lead to organic search cannibalization. Especially when the average cost per tap is about $0.84. 

There are two options that Apple offers for ASA’s: Basic and Advanced. These vary in what they provide; the basic provides a simpler dashboard whereas the advanced tool allows more freedom for keyword choice and gives much more detailed analysis on ad performance. 

Why Apple Search Ads are important

An ad’s primary function is to increase discoverability to directly drive downloads. ASA’s can lead to real app growth through high-quality, high-target ad placements that engage users who have a high intent for specific keywords. This makes them desirable with a conversion rate (CVR) of more than 50%. 

Brand awareness is a key component. People may wonder why big brand names that have strong retail and online presence (think McDonald’s) would need to advertise. Well, a brand that’s talked about much less than its competitors runs the risk of disappearing from the conversation entirely. The same logic applies to apps — appearing in the search results in the App Store for high-volume keywords is a keen brand awareness strategy. Further, by advertising on their own keywords, apps can protect themselves from competitors advertising on them instead. 

Users don’t need to directly respond (tap) on an ad to be engaged with it. Brand awareness can also lead to an increase in “branded search” volume and installs. If users see an ad inside their search results page, a significant portion are driven to explore the app/game then or at a later stage. Think of it like billboard or television advertising focusing on exposure.

ASA’s are also reliable since Apple controls the network. Fraudulent installs are not an issue like they are on other mobile ad networks. 

For UA teams that on the lookout for new opportunities to acquire traffic, ASA’s are being rolled out to different Apple apps such as Apple News and Apple Stocks.

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