# Skip to main content

WEBINAR|Apple Search Ads Problem Solving: A Strategy Workshop.

Find answers to your Apple Search Ads questions




1. What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?
Part science and part art, ASO is the technique of giving your app more exposure in the App Store and increasing your download rates. Examples include Apple Search Ads (ASA)keyword bids and custom product pages.

2. I have placed ads on Facebook and Google in the past. How is ASA different from other pay-per-click (PPC) channels?
ASA focuses more on keywords than you might be used to with other PPC channels, mainly because their demographic data is a bit more limited. ASA uses multiple algorithms to decide which apps win bids and rank within their store search results. Your bid amount is part of the equation, but Apple also uses your app’s conversion rate, metadata, and user content like ratings and reviews to decide your app’s placement with keywords.

3. What key performance indicators (KPIs) are the most important for ASA campaigns? What metrics should I focus on?
Unless you have linked your account with a mobile measurement partner (MMP), all of your metrics for campaign measurement will be supplied by the App Store itself, and that user data is specific to the store.

While the KPIs you want to look at can vary based on your app’s category and its specific needs, the most universal metric you should always keep track of is conversion rate. The conversion rate is the number of downloads (installs) divided by the number of impressions an app’s product page or listing receives (exposure). Conversion rate is especially important as it is one of the metrics used by Apple’s algorithms to help rank you in organic results and winning bids.

4. What is full funnel bidding and how does it relate to ASA?
Full funnel bidding refers to the customer journey as it pertains to your app. For many, an install is just the start of that journey. As users open, interact, make in-app purchases, or subscribe within the app, the value they create for you will go up. The more they interact, the odds of them leaving a review or rating increase as well.

Different keywords bring in different users who will fill out different parts of that funnel. You want to make sure you are spending the right amount on the keywords for the part of that funnel you are targeting.

5. How does Apple determine which apps are in the top 10 for the search homepage?
The top 10 is fully based on installs and install velocity over the past few days. Being in the top 10 of your keyword search results is more important, as that has a more targeted interest group. Perhaps one day you will get to that top 10 of all apps, but it’s more of an achievement than a sales strategy.

6. How are organic rank and paid rank different?
Organic rank is based on text relevance, which are the words that make up your app’s title, keywords, and primary category, as well as user behavior like taps and installs. Paid rank is where the bidding for certain keywords comes into play, although placement and winning a bid are heavily influenced by your tap-to-install rate as well. Apple wants to make sure its results are relevant, and if you keep bidding on a keyword that doesn’t fuel any user interest, Apple will take that into account.

7. What are the benefits of using an ASA campaign management platform (CMP) like Search Ads Maven?

Using a CMP, quite simply, opens up large amounts of time savings and optimization tools for your ASA efforts. A CMP, like Search Ads Maven, has:

  • Automation rules you can use to control your campaigns
  • Ability to bulk upload keywords
  • Copy and duplicate campaigns
  • Research keywords and competitors
  • Easier performance visualization and analysis
  • MMP integration options to optimize ASA on fuller-funnel performance data

8. How does integrating my mobile measurement partner (MMP) into my ASA campaign management platform improve bid performance?

Before integrating with an MMP, a UA manager would have limited information on campaign performance. Once you integrate with your MMP, you will unlock the ability to pull post-install information and measure deeper funnel data such as revenue, user engagement, and user activity.

Using this will allow you to have real-time data insights into your true Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) in ASA and make data-driven decisions. Allowing you to identify trends, demographics, and high-value keywords that you would not have discovered otherwise.

9. What ASA campaign automation capabilities exist in Search Ads Maven?
Quite simply, in Search Ads Maven, we have the ability to automate optimization on almost any campaign level or performance metric that exists within ASA. You can create automation rules for full organization, individual apps, campaigns, ad groups, or individual keywords.

From there, you can use both the metrics from ASA and your own custom goals (if you integrate with an MMP) to decide the conditions your automation rule will run under. With the rule, you can decide to have it make automatic changes to your campaigns or simply notify you via email or Slack.

Some examples include:

Campaign Level– When installs reach a certain amount and post-install revenue is above a certain threshold, you can increase the budget for the campaign. This is an easy way to control your spend based on ROAS metrics and automatically move more spend to the campaigns that are working. You can also switch this around and reduce ad spend on underperforming campaigns so that you can optimize your budget.

Application Level– When your spend for the entire app surpasses a certain level, you receive an email/slack notification. This makes sure you are on top of what is going on in ASA without having to constantly log in and check in.

Keyword Level– When cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for a specific keyword hits a certain amount, you can have it send out a notification. This is important, as some of the more competitive keywords can quickly outspend what you might have planned for or what you are willing to spend if you aren’t paying attention.

10. Why use the Discovery Campaigns?
Discovery campaigns are the best way to find new keywords to start bidding on. Keyword trends can shift quickly and even previously conquered keywords can turn out to be a waste of budget. You can use tools like Search Ads Maven’s keyword analysis to review your ratings for words that pop up frequently and competitor keywords to create new discovery campaigns.

11. Should I use different strategies for different countries?
Yes, especially with product page localizations. Keyword analysis for longtail keywords can vary between countries, even with the same native language. Key metrics like CPA and Tap-Through-Rate (TTR) can also vary wildly between countries, which are the basis of your strategies.

12. What would be the impact of running no branding activity (most effective option on ASA)?
Organic rank is based on metadata and category relevance, but it is also heavily influenced by TTR. If someone taps on your ad it will improve your organic rank so bidding on your brand keywords is a good strategy. In fact, if a competitor wins enough bids for your branded keywords, they can actually surpass you in organic rank! Additionally, having both an ad and an organic result leads to increased visibility and engagement.

Remember, even if you win a bid, you only pay Apple if someone taps on your ad.

13. Are some methods of scaling riskier than others?
This depends on which part of the process we think could be risky. For instance, going all in with every keyword grouped into one campaign with a max budget of your entire year is quite risky, but beyond that, it limits what information we can actually glean from the campaign. It could fuel tons of installs, but you have no way of knowing if you could have gotten the same amount of installs with a smaller budget.

Having full visibility of every metric is the safest way to plan and strategize. The only way to achieve that is by using an MMP, like Kochava, that is integrated with your ASA account.

14. How can I maximize my impressions?
There are two ways to increase the number of results your app shows up in and thus increase your impressions. First, simply winning keyword bids will place you at the top of the results, so increasing your bid amount will increase impressions. Second, you can increase your organic rank in search results for more popular keywords. To do that, work on incorporating some of the more popular keywords into your metadata.

15. How can I make underperforming keywords work harder?
Improving conversion on your product page will raise the value you get from each keyword bid. Utilize custom product pages on specific keyword bids to target specific parts of your app that would interest people the most.

16. Do I need to set a CPA goal alongside the max Cost-Per-Tap (CPT) bid?
The CPA goal is optional and set at the ad group level. The value you pick will be factored in by Apple when determining what bid amount is used. Apple uses it as one way to help put a cap on bid spend besides the CPT goal you are required to give.

17. How does Search Match work in Apple Search Ads? Should I use it on all campaigns?
Search Match is a default feature of Apple Search Ads Advanced Search Results campaigns, where Apple automatically adds Search Term keywords for your app’s campaigns based on your app’s category and metadata.

Search Match is best turned off on your brand campaigns, as those are the ones you want more targeted. Discovery campaigns are the best ones to utilize with Search Match, as they are used to find the hidden gems and keywords you didn’t know about. Remember to use negative keywords with Search Match, as you want to eliminate any low-converting keywords.

18. How do Negative keywords work? Where should I implement them?
Negative Keywords are a list of keywords added during campaign creation used to exclude these words from your campaign. If a campaign has Search Match on, you will want to make sure that any keywords you know are low-converting or beyond the budget are not pulled in by Apple. This allows for greater focus and eliminates unnecessary competition.