Apple Search Ads: Are They Worth It?โ€‚by@eugenezuban

Apple Search Ads: Are They Worth It?

Eugene Zuban HackerNoon profile picture

Eugene Zuban

Entrepreneur. Indie iOS Developer (ex. PRO Media Buyer).

In most cases, when I work on projects with my clients, I use the tools I am more familiar with (and that are most widely adopted) to attract an audience - Facebook & Google. The effectiveness of these sources has long been tested and confirmed, however, Apple Search Ads (ASA) is a new unknown tool for many. In today's post, I will talk about its key advantages and disadvantages of ASA, as well as, share a free and comprehensive ASA course that will be useful for both beginners and advanced mobile marketers. And so, in order.

Apple Search Ads Disadvantages

Apple Search Ads are not cheaper than in other channels

Installs on Apple Search Ads are often more expensive than on Facebook, Google Ads, and other channels, verified by my observation of dozens of projects.

You can look at my average prices for Apple Search Ads installs categorized by different countries by following the link.

Search Ads do not bring in more traffic

In Search Ads, the application can be shown only in the AppStore and only by queries that users enter there. On Facebook and Instagram, you can show ads at any time when a person is scrolling through the feed, and users do this much more often than they are looking for something in the AppStore. That is, in Search Ads, a potential client can be caught only at the moment when he is looking for something there.

Apple Search Ads Advantages

You can get search conversion data for ASO purposes

Apple Search Ads is a great tool to understand which queries are best converted into installs, and then use them in the title on the AppStore and target them as part of your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy.

Expansion of the semantic core

If you use BroadMatch or SearchMatch, Apple itself will find search queries for you, which you can then use in ASO to show on them for free.

Getting better and more targeted installations

The settings from the Apple Search Ads are more relevant since the user was just looking for a new application at that moment; that is, he wanted to install the application and saw an advertisement. At the same time, on Facebook, a user accidentally sees an application in the feed and can install it simply out of curiosity, and not because he wanted it right now.

Using brand names

If you have a popular brand name and you do not want someone else to appear when your potential customers search for you. Your goal is to be in a higher position than your competitors. To do this, you will have to occupy this advertising space with your ad. Thus, you will partially cannibalize your traffic. On the other hand, you may find yourself in the search results for a competitor above the competitor and "squeeze out" a few percent of its target audience. I know of no other such possibility.

A / B tests of screenshots

Unfortunately, unlike Google Play, A / B tests of icons, screenshots, and description texts are not allowed in the AppStore, so the only way to test screenshots is Search Ads, where you can choose which images to show in ads and thus compare conversions.

Query value determination

Apple allows you to receive information directly in the application about what keyword the user came for if it was an installation from Search Ads. Thus, you can send this information to your analytics system (Amplitude or Firebase) and see LTV in terms of keywords. You can also immediately adjust the onboarding in the application to the user's goals at the start.


In general, Apple Search Ads (ASA) can probably be equally attributed to both sources of attracting paid traffic and App Store Optimization (ASO) tools. Judge for yourself, but it is with the help of ASA that you can:

  1. Analyze the popularity of search queries (Search Ads Popularity);ย ย ย ย ย ย ย 
  2. Fill the semantic core with new phrases offered by Apple itself;ย ย ย ย ย ย ย 
  3. Determine the relevance of search queries by conversion to installs;ย ย ย ย 
  4. Protect the position of your brand in search;ย ย ย ย ย ย ย 
  5. Test screenshots and much more.ย ย ย ย ย ย ย 

That is, App Store Optimization and Apple Search Ads are inextricably linked. More precisely, the competent setting of advertising in the Apple Search Ads significantly increases the effectiveness of your App Store Optimization strategy.

How to learn to work with Apple Search Ads for free

Here is a free course to help you learn how to nail Apple Search Ads in just 9 lessons! Designed for marketers of all levels, the course helps them learn all the essentials of running Apple Search Ads campaigns: from defining your main KPIs to scaling keywords and ROI optimization.

To further your career, the SearchAdsHQ Professional Exam for Search Ads can help you check your knowledge in setting up, managing, and optimizing Apple Search Ads campaigns, and get a personalized certificate if successful.

I wish you the best of luck with Apple Search Ads and the best in developing your mobile apps or games. Test hypotheses and work in the data plane, make decisions based on statistics.


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