Search Ads

If you haven't already heard, Search Ads will be one of the latest features in the most recent iOS update and will allow you to pay for ads to appear on top of search results in the app store.

"Meaning you can put the right app in front of the right users at the right time"

Why use Search Ads

We all know that keeping your app at the top of search results takes work and that's for those of you who can get your apps to the top to begin with. There are a countless number of you struggling just to get your apps noticed full stop.

Currently 65% of iOS app downloads come from direct searches on the App Store, which means those of you whose apps don't feature near the top have a hard time competing. With the launch of iOS 10 you will be able to buy visibility through Search Ads.

How it will work

Once you have created an ad, Apple will automatically match it to relevant searches so you won't need to choose keywords. This move could also be a risky one though, as you won't have control over exactly which users your ad will target.

For more control it is advisable to decide whether you want to use your ad to acquire new customers or target existing ones and then choose your own keywords along with other targeting options such as age, gender, device type and location. You can also choose specific times and days when you want your ad to be shown.


Regarding budget, there is no minimum spend and pricing is on an auction basis. You bid the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a customer to click on your ad and the final charge will be based on the amount your nearest competitor is willing to pay for their ad. It is important to know how much a new customer is worth and estimate a conversion rate, as this will help you work out your initial maximum cost.

One thing to remember is, if the ad is not relevant to what the user is looking for it will not show up, no matter how much you pay.

Sounds simple enough but we are unlikely to ever fully understand how Search Ads will work, as with a lot of features Apple are always careful to keep some things to themselves. Which means getting the best results for your money will take expert knowledge.

The main take away is ensuring your Paid Search terms work together with Organic Search terms. This will be the overall deciding factor in being visible inside the app store.

We have been predicting Search Ads in the app store for some time, which is why our ASO strategy is designed to work in harmony with Search Ads and maximise the efficiency of your ad spend.

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