25.03.2022

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Keywords for Apple Search Ads: how to find and which ones to choose

How to find keywords for Apple Search Ads - ASA is the only ad allowed in the App Store. In the search results, they are displayed first and help increase the application's recognition, increasing the number of installations. The effectiveness of advertising dramatically depends on the choice of keywords. Their selection can be successful or unsuccessful, so analyze the search demand carefully and watch your competitors.

The importance of choosing key phrases is explained because Apple Search Ads is based on a bidding system. To get a chance to show ads, marketers bid on different keywords. Apple puts them all up for auction. The winner receives ad space for that particular search term.

To ensure your bid is winning, below are some of the best keywords for each Apple Search Ads campaign type.

Keyword match types

The type of matches determines how many variations of the keyword you enter will be used by Apple. Each type of match is effective for its own advertising campaign. It is crucial to choose the type of match wisely to achieve the goal. There are only three of them in Apple Search Ads.

  • Broad (Broad Match) - the selected key phrases and words widely associated with it are considered.
  • Exact (Exact Match) - considers the key phrase exactly in the word form in which it is written.
  • Search Match - Apple automatically matches search queries with keywords written in the app's metadata.

It is more convenient to consider the differences between keyword match types in the form of a table.

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Types of Apple Search Ads Campaigns

To choose the right keywords, first determine the goal of your advertising campaign. When you make up a plan, you can choose the types of matches that will best suit a given goal.

Search campaigns (Discovery)

Aimed at discovering new effective keywords and targeting popular search queries that are relevant to your application.

Choose broad match keywords or the ones from a group that matches your search intent. This way, you reach a wide audience. Due to this, the level of impressions is high, but the conversion rate may decrease.

Category Campaigns (General)

They are carried out in order to reach a relevant audience that is already looking for a mobile app in your segment. General campaigns, like search campaigns, are designed for a wide audience. Accordingly, the level of impressions is high, but the conversion may be lower than usual. For a category campaign, choose keywords that best describe your app and set the match type to broad.

Brand Campaigns (Brand)

Attract users who are specifically interested in your app. They are looking for the exact keyword, rather than just looking at different options, so it is effective to use exact match keywords for a branded campaign. The impression level may be lower, but the number of clicks and the conversion rate are high.

Competitive Campaigns (Competitor)

Aimed at those who are looking for an app in the same or a related category. The goal of the campaign is to force the user to switch to your application and download it instead of a competitive one. For competitive campaigns, choose only exact match keywords.

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Competitive and brand campaigns work well together. The former is aimed at attracting users of a competitor, the latter is aimed at protecting their brand from attacking campaigns of other developers.

How to find keywords?

Several main approaches can be distinguished.

  • Manual search.

The simplest, but not always an effective option. Yes, you can pick up original keywords or find new relevant phrases, but this will take a lot of time.

See what options the App Store search offers. Enter different search terms that users can use to search for an app in your category. From all options, choose words that describe features and in-app purchases in the app. Pay attention to what search queries display your application and competitors. These phrases will be the most effective keywords.

  • Search Match from Apple.

Instead of you, it will select relevant keys in a different word form. Artificial intelligence reads your app metadata on the App Store and uses it to generate key phrases. You can evaluate their effectiveness in at least a couple of days. Those phrases that provide high rates of clicks and conversions should be used in exact or broad matches.

  • Mobile analytics tools.

With the help of specially designed ASOmobile services, such as Search Ads Spy, you can conduct a more thorough analysis of search queries. Assess the demand in your category, see what keywords your competitors are using and identify the most effective ones. In an article about how search advertising works at Apple, we took a closer look at the capabilities of the service.

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In the Market - Search Ads Spy section, you can not only evaluate a search query by the volume of traffic and the popularity of the search query in Apple Search Ads but also get a list of applications that are advertised for this query.

The most efficient match type is Exact Match

Well-chosen exact match keywords increase click-through and conversion rates for all types of matches. This is due to the high relevance of the content. If your application meets the needs of the user, they are highly likely to install it.

Choose keywords with medium or high popularity

Unpopular keys do not justify themselves.

The popularity of the key phrase will help evaluate the Apple Search. The system does not define specific values, but displays popularity as 5 dots. The more of them, the higher the popularity of the key. Add key phrases with at least 2 popularity points to the launch list.

Pay attention to the length of the search query

The average length of a user's search query on the Apple Store is 2.4 words. To reach the widest possible audience, first, add phrases 2-3 words long to the launch list, and then all the rest. Users rarely write more than 3 words, so using long keywords reduces the number of impressions. Bet on short and capacious keys, but do not overdo it.

Long broad match keywords are not very effective in terms of clicks and conversions. The system generates too many variations for long broad match phrases. Some of these variations may carry a different meaning or be inappropriate for other reasons.

For keyword phrases 4+ words long with an exact match, the situation is reversed. They are focused on a narrow audience and give the highest percentage of conversions. The cost per click of these words is one of the highest.

Fill in the negative keyword field

When you start an ad campaign for broad match keywords, add all exact match keywords to your negative keywords. Keywords that are already bidding must not be used during a new campaign. Otherwise, the Apple system may treat them as a search query and knock down the specified settings. You can add keys to negative keywords yourself in your App Store account.

Launched a campaign, but no impressions?

Four tips to make a difference.

  1. If you are reporting cost per thousand unique impressions (CPT), do not also include cost per click (acquisition) (CPA). Otherwise, CPA limits your bid in the auction and does not allow you to redeem impressions in part or in full.
  2. Gradually increase your CPT rate in increments of $0.6-$1.3 and track when the number of sessions increases. The auction is at the second price, so you will pay less than the specified amount per click.
  3. Do not use keywords that you used in a branded campaign. They can interrupt each other, in which case one of the campaigns will be ineffective.
  4. Re-create the same campaign and keep only those keywords that did not get any impressions.

It also happens that the campaign was initially effective - there were both impressions and installs, and then the conversion rate dropped sharply. In this case, analyze the dynamics of each metric for key queries. Estimate click and conversion rates. If they have decreased, check the place in the search results for the search query you are interested in. Most likely, the key stopped being effective due to your competitor's higher bid. You can solve this problem in several ways:

  • Increase your bet.
  • Test screenshots.
  • Replace the keyword with a more relevant one.

If the campaign has 1 ad group structure, analyze the data on the side of the mobile tracker. Optionally set up the transfer of costs, clicks, and impressions from Apple Search. So the information will be more accurate.

Do not forget ASO

ASO and Apple Search Ads are interconnected, so the deterioration of the performance of one of them will inevitably lead to a subsidence of the second. To maintain a good optimization result, use a combined strategy and improve the two systems at the same time.

Optimize and reach the goal 💙

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