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Apple expanding app search offering

Apple initially launched Apple Search Ads (ASA) back in 2016. ASA is a search function within the App Store, allowing advertisers to manage their app activity and it is bought as an auction model, similar to paid search (PPC). Apple launched a new version of ASA across Europe in 2018 and there are now two different ways to buy ASA: Search Ads Basic and Search Ads Advanced.

Insights and tips for ASA:

  • Campaign Setup: ‘Search Ads Basic’ is the newest buying model, where you pay per install – similar to a cost per acquisition (CPA) buying model – and ‘Search Ads Advanced’ is bought as a cost-per-tap model. ASA consists of campaigns, ad groups and keywords, but there is also an option called ‘Search Match’, which does not require keywords, but is a way to reach more users. For Search Match, the advertiser lets the system match ads to a user’s search query, based on metadata from the App Store and users searching for similar apps.
  • Targeting: One can choose specific audiences and demographics, as well as geo locations. There is also the option to exclude certain audiences or users and specify if you want to target new or all users, which again depend on the wanted reach for a specific campaign.
  • Creative details: ASA uses metadata and the app’s description, video and imagery to create the ad. Ads can appear in several formats, depending on the user’s device, but most recently also with a level of customisation, where it is possible to choose creative assets.
  • Availability: Currently available in the UK, Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and USA, but expanding into more European markets in 2018.

All Response Media viewpoint

As the number of clients that have an app as part of their business continues to grow, we have naturally expanded our expertise accordingly to successfully manage ASA campaigns. With the setup and campaign management resembling other biddable media channels, we have a world of knowledge to set-up and refine campaign targeting. Since ASA can now also be bought on a cost per install model, it reduces the risk for clients that might have developed an app but had little initial traction. It’s easy to start testing ASA with app campaigns, and we also apply third-party tracking, so we can de-duplicate activity from other channels and attribute value correctly across the existing media-mix. So far, ASA is proving to be very efficient, and CPA is around 60% lower than the average of other channels.

Since ad appearance relies on metadata, you can take your time to review your app metadata in the App Store Connect, before getting started. As an agency, we can help you craft your app titles, descriptions and metadata with highly appropriate keywords to improve relevance for Search Ads, which all together will help performance and make it more cost-efficient.