How Apple Search Ads Works

All of Your Apple Search Ads Questions Answered!

Are you looking for ways to grow your business and win more app installs? Then Apple Search Ads may be the answer! In this article, we are explaining how Apple Search Ads works and how you can use them to increase your app downloads rate.

At the end of the article, you can find a 40% discount coupon for the first month of using ASOMobile - a tool for creating ASO and researching competitors in the mobile app market.

What Is Apple Search Ads?

Apple Search Ads is Apple’s official advertising platform, which allows you to promote your app within the App Store. With Apple Search Ads, your app can appear first in App Store searches for particular keywords and be highlighted in blue. It is estimated that these powerful ads have a conversion rate of up to 50%!

You will be able to select the best keywords with the Search Ads Spy analytic tool at ASOMobile. Here, you will see which apps are being promoted in Apple Search Ads for any search query and learn the keywords of your competitors.

How Does Apple Search Advertising Work?

The way App Store Search Ads works is that you bid on specific keywords, and if your bid is the winner, your app will be the first result when users search that keyword. For example, if you successfully bid for the keyword “photo filter”, the next time a user searches “photo filter”, your app will be the number 1 result and will be highlighted in blue. 

Currently, Apple App Store Ads has two distinct options, basic and advanced, which you can learn more about below!

Basic Service 

With the basic plan, you get to take advantage of a cost per acquisition model and only pay per app install, you are limited to a monthly budget of $10,000 and can promote up to 50 apps

Apple’s basic service automatically targets specific keywords and users and does not allow you to set your audience as Apple’s AI handles the entire process. Due to the automatic nature of the basic plan, this is the best for smaller companies not experienced in digital marketing.

Advanced Service 

The advanced plan operates on a cost per tap meaning you pay every time someone taps on your App Store Search Ad. With the advanced plan, you can target specific users (for example, previous users for the purpose of re-downloads) and go after particular keywords through bidding. The advanced option does not limit your monthly budget and gives you access to a range of key statistics such as tap-through rate and traffic source. Larger companies typically opt for the advanced service as it allows them to run more effective and sophisticated campaigns.

Keywords and Rates

Apple Search Ads is only effective if you know how to target keywords correctly. To ensure you maximize the visibility of your app, and download rates, you need to target specific and general keywords and carefully determine how much you are willing to bid on each keyword. An easy way to find keywords is to use tools that will automatically compile a list of the best keywords to target. You should increase your bid until you hit your cost per acquisition goal and start winning downloads from popular keywords related to your niche. 

Unfortunately, just outbidding competitors on high-volume keywords is not enough to win the number 1 ranking spot as Apple also considers the relevancy of your app in relation to the keyword. To ensure you are consistently ranking number 1, you need to combine your winning bids with ASO optimization. Factors that impact your ASO include app name, URL, description, reviews, and ratings.

In Which Countries Does Apple Search Ads Work?

Apple App Store Ads is truly global and can be found in the following countries:

Africa, Middle East, and India

  • Egypt
  • India
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates

Asia Pacific

  • Australia
  • Cambodia
  • China mainland
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam


  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Kazakhstan
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Ukraine

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Mexico
  • Peru

The United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico

  • Canada
  • United States

Basic and Advanced Coverage

With Apple Search Ads Basic, you are putting all of your faith in Apple and in its AI. With the Basic service, Apple’s AI chooses all the keywords, your targeted audience’s age, gender, location, and even device, and all you have to do is set your bid. While this sounds like a great option, the problem is that your app will often rank for irrelevant keywords, and you may target the wrong demographic.

Apple Search Ads Advanced solves the issues experienced by Basic users as it allows you to bid on whatever keyword you want, and it allows you to target a specific audience by selecting a user’s age, gender, location, and more. With the Advanced service, you can get your app in front of the right users and not waste money winning customers, who will not be the right fit for your product and have a low LTV.

Keyword Match Type

Apple App Store Ads has a cool feature known as keyword match type, which allows you to determine who sees your ad. With a broad keyword match, Apple will show your app for targeted and similar keywords. For example, if you target the keyword “friend” and you select broad match, your app will also be shown to people searching “buddy” and other synonyms for the word “friend”.

If you only want to rank for a specific keyword, you can select an exact keyword match. With the exact match setting, your app will only be shown to people searching for a particular keyword.

Apple Search Ads Ad Groups

Apple Search Ads allows you to further control who sees your app and allows you to optimize your marketing budgeting by creating Ad Groups. With Ad Groups, you can build a collection of keywords that form the basis of your campaign and effectively create different bids, so you are targeting a wide range of keywords from cheap to expensive. By grouping these keywords together, you can minimize cost per acquisition and win downloads from a wide range of keywords.

With Ad Groups, you can define your audience ensuring only your target demographic sees your ads. Currently, on Apple Search Ads, you can filter your audience by age, location, gender, time, device, and even if they have previously downloaded your app. By targeting your ideal demographic, you can greatly boost the effectiveness of Apple Search Ads and win extra customers. 

Why Use Apple Search Ads?

Are you wondering if you should try Apple Search Ads? Then check out the benefits below:

  • Easily win new customers. Did you know over 70% of customers find new apps through searching the App Store? So it is no wonder that Apple App Store Ads has an incredibly high conversion rate of up to 50%! 
  • Boost your organic rankings. By turning on Apple Search Ads, your app will receive more downloads and reviews, which play a major factor in your organic ranking. By climbing the organic rankings, your app will receive more organic installs, reducing your acquisition costs.

Before you run an Apple Search Ads campaign, make sure your ASO is on point by selecting an interesting app name, developing a catchy slogan, acquiring detailed and 5-star reviews, including an informative and captivating description, and making your app store page pop with awesome screenshots and videos.

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