How Apple Search Ads Have Evolved

2016 saw Apple introduce Search Ads, a new program that would significantly change how users found apps. 65% of apps found on the store now rely on the program which means that the tool is invaluable. Developers can rely on this tool to improve how visible their apps are.

While Search Ads continue to help the marketing strategies that developers apply on a daily basis, it has not remained as it was since the initial release. The company has been expanding the storefronts and developed other support programs. It has also added variations to its creative assets. Here is how the Search ad has evolved over time:

Search Ads two years ago

During the initial release, developers had loads of questions about Search Ads and how they would influence their campaigns. Different from Google AdWords, they were not concerned with creating new campaigns from scratch for the App Store. Instead, they found out that their campaigns would pull from the metadata on their product’s page.

This meant that users would be able to interact with either one of the following variations:
• The icon and the first two description lines
• The icon and the first two screenshots or preview video
• The icon and the first landscape screenshots

Despite the ads being a bidding war on high keyword volumes, Apple told its developers that the keywords also needed to be relevant. It did not matter how much money they bid, if the app was not relevant for a particular term, it would not appear in any search results. This showed that developers would have to sit and formulate App Store Optimization strategies and find ways of making their apps relevant to the keywords they targeted.

The 2017 additions

Developers had to focus less on making new campaigns but they were limited in terms of where their ads would show up. Initially, Search Ads were a reserve for the US App Store. Soon, Apple changed that and added fronts line Australia and the UK. With the knowledge that metadata helps to create a Search Ad developers had to work on their localization efforts.

Along with expanding the storefronts, Apple also released two other programs – the Search Ads Advanced and the Search Ads Basic. The point of these programs was to help budding developers as well as the established ones to have a fighting chance from the get-go. Depending on the suite you chose, you would have several options. The developer could either get the basic tools to get insight into the performance of their campaigns, or they could get the full suite to create campaigns that were geared to niche markets and specific audiences.

Search Ads in 2018

While the year is more than halfway through, the company has made very little additions to the platform. They have released the Creative Sets, which helps developers to add variations to campaigns. Apple claims that the new addition will give developers an ability to align campaigns that are in process with targeted audiences and keywords.

What is more, these variations will be separate from the running campaigns, to help the developers be able to reach larger audiences. They are able to create ten Creative Sets for one ad group but they will need to monitor the product page carefully because the sets still pull from the metadata.

Why search Ads are Important
Since their launch, developers have established that Search Ads help to boost the user conversions by 50%. They have even claimed the unit to increase the average revenues by up to 30%. Apple is constantly making updates and advances to this platform to make sure that the developer reaches their maximum audience.

However, a campaign will only be effective and profitable is the developer leverages ASO. They need to be monitoring user trends and behaviors continually, to align their strategies. They also need to remember to make their apps relevant if they will appear in more search results. Developers who do not stay up to date on the trends will lose out on great opportunities to expand the reach of their apps.

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