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If you’re a budding app developer or app publisher and want your app on the App Store to get more downloads, or if you’re generally just curious about how ads work within the App Store, then this is a must-read article.

You will discover what Apple Search Ads are exactly, who can benefit from it, how it works, why it matters and why you should know about it.

From iAds to Apple Search Ads

6 years ago, iAd was launched. It was a mobile ad platform created by Apple which allows app developers to place an ad within apps on the App Store to drive more downloads. These are typically banner ads you see when you’re using a free app.

If you’re still unclear about what iAds are, it’s those banner ads you see when you’re on an app that opens up into a pop-up banner ad that fills your screen when you tap on it, tapping on that banner ad will take you to Safari where you can see details about the app.

It’s similar to what Google Play uses as well. It’s goal was to help app developers place ads within an app to help drive more downloads.

So, why did Apple say goodbye to iAds?

Apple felt that it needed more work so they shut it down earlier this year and a few months later launched in its place Apple Search Ads.

There are a lot of changes to the way Apple handles ads too, they say that with Search Ads, customer response is valued more, meaning if your ad comes up on a search but no one taps on it, they will eventually stop showing it. Good news for users, not so good for you.

What are Apple Search Ads?

Apple Search Ads are ads that appear in the search results when a user searches for an app in the App store. So instead of showing up within the app, ads now come up in the search results.

Apple says that 65% of app downloads come from app store search results, which is why it makes sense for them to use the format of the app store listing as a guide for Search ads.

Search ads will appear as regular app store listing, except that it will have a blue “Ad” icon on it, so users can identify them as ads.



Apple believes that Search Ads are more effective in driving downloads because ads that will come up are more relevant to what the user is searching for, and because the ads are more relevant to the user, the chances that they will download the app are higher, this is also good news for app developers and publishers because it gives them a chance to stand out in the ever growing and crowded app store.

Features of Apple Search Ads

100% of the profit goes to You

During the iAd’s time, app developers or app publishers had to split their share with Apple, 70-30, meaning 70% from app downloads go to Apple and only 30% go to the app developer or app publisher.

In Search Ads, the app developer or app publisher gets to keep all their profit from app downloads.

You can control costs

Apple Search Ads allow you to spend as much or as little as you want and you can stop your ads anytime you want.

This means that you have complete control on how long you run your ad for and how much you’re willing to pay. You can set a budget for your campaign and once it reaches that budget, your ads will automatically stop until you’re ready to run it again.

The amount you have to pay for a tap on your ad is determined based on what your nearest competitor in the app store is willing to pay, so you can be sure that what you are paying for is a fair market price.

Advanced Insights will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t.

Apple Search Ads gives you a code that you can add to your app to track its performance. These insights will allow you to see what keywords are working the best for you, what country the app is performing well in, as well as some audience criteria.

So you can further tweak your ad to make sure you get the most downloads.

How do you use it properly

If you’re an app publisher, you have to make sure that you have optimized your app so that it appears in the search results as a Search Ad that is relevant to what users are looking for.

Optimize your Screenshots

Aside from your icon and app title, sometimes Apple may include your screenshots with the ad, and the better optimized your screenshots are, the more likely people are going to download it.

Work on your Icon and App Title

Since most app publishers and app developers want to be seen more, make sure that your app icon and app title stand out, because competition is fierce, especially for high ranking keywords.

Since Apple Search Ads are still pretty new, we can expect to see more changes to come soon, but making sure these elements are taken cared off will ensure your app to be seen more and more likely to get more downloads.

Why You Need To Worry About It

If you’re an app developer or publisher, you need to worry about Search Ads if you want to drive downloads to your app. Change is the only thing that is constant in this world, and if you’re not quick to adapt to the changes that come in the app space, you might as well quit, because the only way you will survive is if you implement these changes and adapt.

Ane Fallarme

Ane Fallarme manages the content and PR relations at App Masters.

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