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Category:Paid Search

Apple Search Ads – Everything You Need To Know About How They Work

January 31, 2019

App developers and marketers can’t afford to ignore Apple Search Ads. There’s just too much competition with over 2 million apps waiting to be discovered and downloaded. With Apple Search ads fast emerging as a new and effective way to acquire users, many app owners are now realising the importance of using Search Ads to stand out. In fact, according to Mobile Marketer, app install ad spend is predicted to surge to $64.1B by 2020.  Despite only being relatively new, Apple Search ads look set to take a $2 billion slice of that pie by 2020 according to Bernstein Analyst Toni Sacconaghi.

We appreciate that Apple Search Ads can be confusing for some, especially if you’ve never used it before.  In this article, you’ll find some useful and actionable tips and tricks that will help you conquer this new advertising channel.

What are Apple Search Ads?

Similar to how social media and search ads help you stand out from other content, Apple Search Ads are an efficient and easy way to get your app discovered by users browsing the App Store.

It’s relatively easy to begin creating your Search Ads campaign in Apple. If you’ve previously worked on Google Adwords campaigns, all of it will seem even more straightforward.

App Store ads look very similar to a regular search listing, but the only difference here is that it has a blue background along with a blue “Ad” icon on it. They show up right at the top of the search results when a user makes a query around a keyword (which is actually a phrase as much as it might be a single word!). The ad shown is targeted at the user according to what they have typed in and so will be relevant to what they’re searching for.

This means that your ad needs to target the keywords that users are more likely to make searches with. But additionally, to maintain high relevancy and drive more installs, you’ll need to optimise your app store listing page too.

Right from the app title, icon, description, screenshots and the promo text, everything needs to look relevant to the search made and compelling enough to nudge a download.  After all, there’s absolutely no point in creating a great ad to appear at the top of a user’s search results, just for them to click through to a really terrible or mediocre page which is highly unlikely to lead to a download.

How to pick the right keywords

As a marketer, you know how important it is for your app to be recognised for what it does. That’s why the keywords you choose for your Apple Search Ads need to be relevant to your app.

Simply put, your Apple Search Ads success is based on the keywords you choose. Any keywords you choose shouldn’t just take relevancy into account but also the competition that you’ll need to face in order for you to appear. By ‘competition, we mean the number of apps that are targeting the same keyword.

Once you start your keyword search, you might want to run a broad match, but you know in your heart that the exact keywords based on user search intent are the most likely to get you the right audience, leading to higher chances of your app being downloaded and actively used.

On the other hand, Apple’s Search Match feature intuitively understands which keywords apply to your app. Search Match is a default setting in all Apple Search Ad campaigns. This makes it simple to kickstart campaigns if you don’t have any experience in running keyword-based ad campaigns.

The thing to bear in mind is that if your ads don’t start show results in the first few days of running the campaign, you’ll need to change the keywords. This might be because the keywords that you’re using aren’t being searched for or are simply not relevant enough to your add. Or, it may be that you are being outbid by others if it is a particularly popular keyword such as ‘game’.  

As Apple itself suggests, the trick to choosing the right keywords for your Search Ads is to:

  • Think like your customers – Consider the search terms they might use to look for your app type.  
  • Try both generic and specific keywords – Pick general keywords relevant to your app to reach a wider audience, but at the same time choose particular keywords to narrow down your targeting to reach your ideal users.

The best thing about Apple Search Ads is that it gives you access to something called the ‘Relative Search Term Popularity Index’. This metric gives you insight into how many searches are being made on the keywords that define your app, or the keywords that you want to use for Apple Search Ads.

The Relative Search Term Popularity Index, it also recommends keywords based on your targeting which helps you identify the most important keywords for promoting your app.

However, search volume shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when picking a keyword to bid on. You’ll also need to consider the type of competition you’ll face for each keyword.

Another useful hint is to set up ‘negative keywords’ for your ad campaign. This will ensure high relevancy of your Apple Search Ads and keep them away from showing up on irrelevant search results. After all, you don’t want to be paying to reach a user who isn’t going to download your app.

Understanding how Apple Search Ads appear

While the keywords you pick decide what searches your app will show for, it’s the relevancy of the app and the bid you place that determines if it will get the top spot on the search results.

For instance, if your app isn’t as relevant for the keyword you’re targeting, it won’t be shown to the user – no matter how high a bid you place on it.

Another important thing to bear in mind is that Apple Search Ads will charge you based on what your campaign is optimized for – taps or installs. The cost per tap model will charge you every time a user taps on your ad; irrespective of whether they download it or not. On the other hand, cost per install is when you get charged only for the number of installs that the Apple Search Ads have driven.

This means you should decide carefully how much you can spend on App Store Search Ads so that you can get a positive return-on-investment (ROI). Keep in mind that the market demand is what determines how much you pay for an ad.

It’s even more important to understand that relevance is critical to winning at bidding. As such, you must separate your Exact Match and Broad Match keywords so that they are not in the same Ad Group and don’t have Search Match running in an Exact Match keyword Ad Group.

Advanced targeting controls

With advanced controls, you can run precise targeting and optimise your ads for keywords as well as user demographics.

The filters help you refine the audience you want your Search Ads to be shown to. It allows you to decide if you want your ads to be shown to your existing users, new users, users of competing apps or to everyone. Additionally, you also get to finetune the targeting based on gender, age, location and device type.


Demographic targeting

Demographic targeting will narrow down your audience base and show ads only to highly specific categories that you wish to see conversions from. You can run demographic targeting based on:

  • Audiences: New users, existing users of your app and users of other apps you own
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Device location

If you have a complete understanding of your ideal audience type, it’s beneficial to go as precise with targeting as possible. However, avoid going for precise targeting if you have a new app. With no idea of who your ideal users are, you will only end up limiting the reach of your Apple Search Ads.

Attribution and reporting

Reporting on how your ads are performing is vital to understanding where you are faltering and where you’re succeeding. From the Apple Search Ads attribution reports, you can understand which of your keywords are performing well. The report gives you insights into the impressions, taps and downloads that every keyword generated for your ad campaign, in an easy-to-understand format.


In summary

Apple Search Ads may take you a little time to understand and you may well end up targeting the wrong keywords initially.

To avoid losing your advertising budgets on common mistakes, you can take the smarter route to continually optimise your Apple Search Ads for better results. The Blackbox Platform is an app campaign manager that combines the power of automation with industry expertise to generate the best possible results for you.

All you need to do is tell the platform which app you want to promote, decide on how much you want to spend and who you want to target. Making use of Apple Search Ads best practices and proprietary technology, Blackbox platform ensures you remain at the top of the search results for your target users.

But with that done, don’t forget that the real hack to winning the game is to retain the users you acquire from Apple Search Ads in the first place.

Apple Search Ads: CPA Analysis December 2018

January 30, 2019

Welcome to our monthly update where we examine the average CPA (cost per acquisition) for Apple Search Ads campaigns across three segments  – Games, News and Sports as well as the overall CPA.

To recap from the last month, we calculated the mean CPA by summing the spend for the month and dividing that value by the total number of conversions for that month. We ran the analysis across the global campaigns that have been run on our own Blackbox Platform since June 2018. It is essential to bear in mind that this data does not present an analysis across the entirety of the Apple Search Ads portfolio.

As per last month, we are still seeing fluctuations in some categories as the popularity for running Search Ad campaigns increases and keyword bidding becomes more competitive in some categories more than others. On a final note, December represents the busiest month of the year regarding ad spend, and so we expect to see a rise in CPA’s across the board as brands invest heavily in acquiring new users.

Overall CPA

Despite it being the busiest month of the year for mobile advertising investment, the actual rise in CPA from November to December was only 0.54% from $5.11 to $5.65. This still represents the highest point that we had seen the CPA since June 2018 when World Cup campaigns in the Sports category caused the CPA to rise significantly. Overall, the price variance of the four months from September to December 2018 has remained relatively steady at an average of $4.90. The average price over the seven months that we have been publishing the data for sits at $4.40 and so it will be interesting to see how this settles throughout 12 months.

In December we saw an Average Cost Per Tap (CPT) of $2.35; this is 15.8% and 35.8% higher than October and November, respectively. The price an individual pays for a tap is determined by how much an app’s nearest competitor is willing to pay, up to the app’s maximum CPT Bid. Therefore, if other app developers are willing to pay more, the price of CPT goes up.


It is of little surprise that we saw a significant spike of the Games CPA to its highest point of $11.45 in December 2018, as it continues to remain the most competitive category for app developers due to the high LTV of many apps. It is essential to bear in mind that due to the way Apple categorises its apps, it is currently tough to differentiate between traditional video games and casino-style gaming apps, with the result that both kinds of app appear in the category results.

The high point of $11.45 represents a price increase of over 400% compared to when we first started publishing the Games CPA in June 2018. Overall, the last four months of the year from September to December have averaged $8.52 and overall, the seven months from June to December have averaged $6.04.


Due to the dominance of betting apps, sports remains the category with the highest CPA, although it is the only category that saw a drop in the December CPA compared to November, with a small decrease of 0.2%. The overall average for the seven months from June to December 2018 is $11.41. There appears to be far less total price fluctuation in the category with a variance of 50% between the lowest price in August and the highest in June compared to the games category which saw a 400% increase between lowest and highest.  

There does not appear to be as much seasonality with Sports apps with regards to Christmas; instead, the spikes are logically due to major sporting events such as the World Cup. It will be interesting to see the impact of major sporting events such as the Super Bowl on 3 February 2019.


News remains a less competitive keyword category which is reflected in the lower CPAs and the overall stability of the pricing.

After a high of $4.08 in June, we can see that the CPA trended downwards towards the end of the year with a slight increase in December of 9.6% due to the rise of promotions in December around Christmas. Overall, the category has an average CPA of $3.12 in the seven months from June to December 2018.

Apple Search Ads: The complete guide for beginners

December 31, 2018

With more than 2 million apps available on the App Store, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for developers and marketers to make their apps and games stand out from the crowd. Of course, you could run hundreds of social media ads to reach out to your target market, but the fact remains that 70% of users tend to use the App Store’s search engine to look for apps.

Put even more simply; you need to start using App Store Search Ads to rank right at the top and fuel your growth.

In this guide, we’ll provide you with an overview of Search Ads: how it works, how it appears to users, how to create your strategy, and how to effectively optimise to get the best results for your campaign.

So let’s get started.

What are Apple Search Ads?

Apple Search Ads is an efficient way for app developers and marketers to put their apps in front of the right people by making use of keyword or phrases that they are more likely to use to look for something.

But since there are often hundreds of apps in every category, Search Ads puts your app on top of the others. For instance, LightRight is a photo editing app that offers filters to edit images easily. Knowing that their target users look for similar apps using the keyword ‘photo filters’, they run a Search Ads campaign to grab their attention.


As per a study conducted across different campaigns being run by different categories of apps, Apple reports that Search Ads deliver a 50% conversion rate on average. In fact, Search Ads costs 40% less than running user acquisition campaigns across other mobile ad platforms.

Take Bumble for example. The social networking app scaled its growth in multiple countries with Search Ads as its top acquisition, and re-acquisition platform. The campaign brought the app a 61% conversion rate. And all they did, was target their ideal users with the simplest of keywords that they were more likely to use to look for something similar to social platforms like Facebook – ‘meet people’.

Why are Apple Search Ads effective?

When a typical internet user tends to spend most of their time on social media platforms, why should app developers and marketers focus on Search Ads?  Well, the answer to this is straightforward. Instead of displaying your Search Ad campaign to a mass audience, it focuses on showing it to only those who are looking for apps similar to what yours does.

App Store Search Ads helps you reach high-intent, quality users, thereby cutting out on those who might not find relevance in what you offer and either turn away from your ad campaign.


Additionally, Search Ads help you offer a private and safe user experience. In instances when users are sceptical about sharing their data over social media accounts and websites, Search Ads adhere to Apple’s privacy standards. While this ensures that only relevant ads are being shown to the user based on the data they are willing to share, it also assures you don’t end up looking too pushy and are reaching the right target audience.

Contrary to battling for attention on social media platforms that are stuffed full of app adverts, Apple Search Ads are a bit like your ticket to skipping the queue by getting your app discovered for relevant keywords that you know customers are typing in.

How do Apple Search Ads work?

For Apple to display your app for the right keywords, it makes use of your App Store listing – metadata and creatives like the app logo, screenshots, app description and the app title. Simply put, even if you have a great keyword strategy in place for your Apple Search ads, a not so optimised app name, description and low quality of screenshots, could kill your conversion rate.  

A good first impression will determine how many users will install your app, increase its explore rates and convince more explorers to install.

The first step is for your Search Ads to get matched with a search query so that it can enter the ad space auction with other campaigns targeting a similar audience.

For your campaign to be successful, you need to win the auction in order to appear in the top slot of the search results – because that is the first suggestion a user sees on making a search query using the keyword you’re targeting. The moment your campaign is marked as relevant to a specific search query, then it all depends who the highest bidder is for the keyword.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • To be able to join an auction, your app needs to be identified as relevant to the search query
  • The number of clicks on your advert also dictates how frequently your advert is shown The less the number of clicks your Search Ad gets, the less it will show up in targeted queries  

Top tip: Your app logo and screenshots need to convey the value your app has to offer in the first few seconds.

How to set up a Search Ads campaign: Apple Search Ads Best Practices

To put your Search Ads in front of the right audience, you need to start by understanding your target market. It doesn’t just include basic demographics like age, gender and location. You also need to understand their interests, their search behaviour and what is currently available to them in the app store.

Once you have an understanding of who is more likely to find your app valuable, here’s what you need to do to set up an App Store Search Ads campaign that gets you more users:

  1. Choose your target keywords

To begin with, you need to identify at least 50 keywords that are relevant to your app and are being used by app store users to look for apps of their interest actively. You can do this by using Keyword Suggestions to find the relative search term popularity index to identify the keywords that are the most important to promote your app.

You should be picking out keywords based on the type of Search Ads campaign you’re running – exact matches, broad matches and search matches.

It is important to note that your Apple Search Ads are shown only if a user’s query matches the specific keyword you’re targeting. While this ad type gets you the highest tap through rates, it has a lower impression rate – so you might not be reaching all of your potential audience.

When it comes to using ‘broad matches’ for your Apple Search Ads, Apple shows your campaign to search queries that are close variants of your target keyword. Pretty much similar to what synonyms are. In this case, both the click-through rates and tap through rates remain average.

Here’s an example:


If you plan on using ‘search matches’, Apple is the one that decides which query your ad is relevant to. This is on the basis of your app’s metadata. These ads tend to have a high impression rate, but lower tap through rates because Apple may not be able to understand who your ideal user is.  

With the BlackBox platform, you won’t have to worry about targeting the right keywords. Based on which app you want to promote, who you want to promote it to and your budget, the platform picks out and targets the best keywords in your campaign.  


  1. Discover user search behaviour

Using the Search Match feature of the app store, match your campaign to the relevant searches made by a user. This step is essential as it also helps you uncover new opportunities to promote your app.

For instance, there may be a user segment that you didn’t think could use your app, or a keyword that you didn’t know users made search queries around. Such data helps you uncover data that could give a boost to your Apple Search Ads campaign. Brian Dean of Backlinko calls them ‘shoulder niches’.

Here’s an example. Your mobile game offers competitive puzzles to players. Instead of targeting only ‘online puzzles’ as your keyword, you could also target ‘boost brain power’ in your campaigns.  

While ‘Search Match’ displays all the possible keywords your app could rank for and those that you should compete with, it is also a good idea to use other keyword research tools like Ubersuggest and LSI Graph, or even better, automate the process by using the BlackBox Platform. Based on what your app does, who it is for and what your budget is, the platform picks out the best keywords and optimises your campaigns with them.  

  1. Finetune your target audience

Starting with your defined target audience, add the data layer from the search match to further finetune who you want to target with the ads. While you can do this by applying a layer of data including gender, age, devices and location, you can narrow it down even further. By using filters, you can choose to show your ad to existing users only, new users only or to users who are making use of another one of your apps.

  1. Select your target devices

Based on what your app has to offer and which device it is the best suited for, select your target devices before starting your Search Ads campaign. You can show the ad to users of both the iPhone and the iPad, or choose to display it to only one device type that you’ll be able to guarantee a great experience on.

If your app is suited for all Apple devices, you will need to separate your Search Ads campaign strategy based on user behaviour on different devices. For instance, an iPad user is more likely to use longer search terms (long tail keywords) to look for apps. On the other hand, an iPhone user might choose to use just a word to find an app that best suits their need.

This is just one aspect of targeting across all devices. You will also need to look into your app creatives and descriptions to be able to appeal to these different user segments (more about this below).  

  1. Set up your ad campaign

Once you fill in the data of what your app does and who you want to target with it, your Apple Search Ads are automatically created with the metadata and creatives provided.

What you can do to ensure your campaigns drive higher conversions, is A/B test your approach. Vary your app creatives and messaging for different campaigns, note the response you’re achieving on each of them, identify what resonates the best with your audience and bid higher on that specific campaign.

Continually A/B testing your campaigns will help you optimise your campaigns, budgets and drive higher ROI from them.

  1. Run or schedule your ads

Based on your goals and the period of time that you want to achieve them, you can run or schedule your app store paid search ads to start and stop on specific days. You can also define particular days of the week or times of the day at which you want your ad campaign to show.

In this case, you need to take into account where different audience segments are located, local holidays, seasonal market trends and more. Your campaign schedule should match when your audience is more likely to be searching for apps like yours.  

  1. Monitor and optimise

Like any other marketing campaign to promote your app, there is no ‘set it and forget it’ approach to App Store Search Ads. Whether you want your campaign to get you more users or re-engage inactive ones, you need to consistently monitor the changing app store use pattern for better Apple Search Ads optimization. This could include the copy you use, the creatives you use to showcase what your app does or even the keywords you’re targeting.

One of the most important Apple Search Ads tips is to track user response as the key metric. If no one clicks on your ads, they are eventually going to stop being shown to your prospective customers and you’ll lose the market. This means you need to continually focus on improving your tap-through-rate (TTR) to enhance your Search Ads impression frequency.

Also, make it a point to dive deeper into data to understand the end-to-end journey of your acquired or reacquired users. From when and how they discovered your app, how many times they were shown your ad to when and where they converted – user journey mapping is not just essential to design a great app, but also to create campaigns that actually convert.

While you’re all set to leverage Apple Search Ads with the seven steps above, there are also a few other rules you should always keep in mind:

  • Apple focuses a lot on user experience, and hence the algorithm automatically prefers apps that are known to offer the same – primarily higher ratings and positive reviews


  • The App Store pulls information from your app store listing – so make sure you use the right copy and creatives there


  • Don’t endlessly target keywords you’re already ranking for. Look for new opportunities instead – for instance, the keyword or keywords that your competitor is focusing on


  • Place higher bids on higher volume keywords when they are highly relevant to what your app has to offer


  • Consistently optimise your app listing for the best of results on the App Store Search Ads.

The last point brings us to another critical aspect of App Store Search Ads – App Store Optimization. As a general rule, you’re already focusing on it – or at least trying to – while listing your app. But here’s why it is essential to pay attention to a few aspects a little more to make your search ads work.

Apple Search Ads and App Store Optimisation

If you’re not picking the right keywords, your app is not going to be able to reach the right audience. If your App Store listing is not optimised for the keywords you choose, there is no way for the store or the users to know what value your app has to offer and to whom. Simply put, Search Ads are nothing without App Store Optimisation (ASO).

While Apple does allow you to bid on multiple keywords, having even the biggest of budgets does not guarantee your app showing up on search results. That’s why to compete better with similar apps; you need to get yourself set for organic growth as well.

Here are the two things you need to pay attention to the most to make your Apple Search Ads and ASO complement each other.

  1. App metadata

Your app’s name and description are vital to your app’s relevancy in the App Store. These are the two pieces that need to be written to a degree of quality that a user doesn’t just discover your app amongst millions of others, but also convinces them instantly to download it. You need to do this before thinking about running your App Store Search Ads.

  • App name: Apple scans app names for relevant keywords as soon as a user performs a search. That’s why apps that use their targeted keyword in the app title, notice a 10.3% boost in their ranking. While listing your app, include only the most relevant keywords because you have just 30 characters available to you.

    If you’re targeting users from different regions, it’s also a good idea to focus on localisation. It will help you instantly form a bond with the users by being more relatable and contextual.


  • Promotional text and description: This is the text that appears at the top of the long description and is limited to 170 characters. While it doesn’t get indexed by the algorithm and help optimise for search results, it is nonetheless a smart space to highlight exactly what your app does or to post the latest updates you have made.

    A catchy promo text can actually help you get a 35% conversion lift average in App Store search downloads.


  • App description (long): This is where you put words to use and let your target users know everything about your app and what it has to offer. Use this space to highlight every little aspect of your app that adds value to the users – let them know what each feature does and how it is different from the offerings of other apps.

    Instead of going for longer paragraphs, format your app description with shorter paragraphs and bullets to make it readable and quick to consume at a glance. But remember to prioritise the placement of your target keyword here. Distribute the keyword evenly across the length of the description; don’t overstuff though.

    Also, use this space to include awards and media mentions. It acts as social proof to show a user how those similar to them are loving your app. People tend to trust people more than they believe ads.
  1. App creatives

You might have noticed how some apps tend to focus a lot on making their app screenshots look good. On the flipside, some apps take a screenshot of their screens and upload them on their app listing.

There is a key difference between the two. The former makes a better impression on the target users, leading to an increased number of downloads. This is because its app creatives give the user a sneak peek into what it offers, letting them quickly decide whether the app is worth downloading or not. So use this space as smartly and creatively as possible!

For instance, including a good video can actually boost your conversion rate by up to 40%.   

To make your app creatives work for you, remember to use the space to highlight the essential features – your unique selling point and to create a storyline while doing so; it will make it more intuitive for a user to browse through them all.  

For instance, Slack has both a mobile-specific app and a desktop specific app. With customised creatives for both audiences, their users have a clearer idea of what the apps offer.

And when it comes to their mobile app, they use screenshots that give the users an idea of what they can expect when using the same app on mobile devices.

While the above two will take care of the data that gets automatically picked up by Apple to create your Search Ad, here’s another aspect to App Store Optimization that you should focus on:

  1. Review and ratings

As mentioned before, Apple is all about being able to offer a great user experience and being relevant to their users. That’s why they use ratings and reviews as a parameter to gauge how good an app is, for being recommended to its users, thus affecting where you stand in the App Store search ranking.

Apart from serving as social proof to potential users, ratings and reviews also act as metadata for search and help categories your app better in the store, based on user feedback.

If you’re wondering how you could nudge users to share positive reviews for your app, start with those who are more actively engaged with it. Encourage them with in-app incentives for instance. You never know which feedback might actually work the best for your app in the store and what might define your product development journey.

And the best part is that now you can directly respond to comments dropped by users on your app listing, making it easier to have a conversation.

Key takeaways

As soon as an app developer or a marketer learns about Apple Search Ads, they tend to jump onto the bandwagon all too soon. But the campaigns that work are those that are backed by a proper Apple advertising strategy – research and user data that focuses on how the end user tends to use the search on the App Store.

So before starting your App Store Search Ads campaign, make sure you go beyond just identifying who your app is meant for. Focus on optimising your listing for relevant keywords by ensuring that the metadata, keyword bank and the app’s creatives, are all in line with what you want your app to be shown for.

Setting yourself up for organic growth before running an Apple Search Ads campaign will also help you analyse the response of users, test the discoverability of keywords and create campaigns that are more likely to be displayed at the right time with the right message, to the right audience.

To put it bluntly, don’t just look at hastily wanting to launch your app before someone else brings up something similar. Let data drive your App Store Search Ads campaign and maintain a user-first approach while creating your promotions.

After all, in a user-centric market, it’s how well you are able to understand their needs and pitch your app as a solution in a relevant manner, that can ensure brand stickiness and increase your app downloads.

We know that it is a lot to do and can be overwhelming for an app developer or marketer to handle. In such scenarios, you shouldn’t shy away from reaching out to experts in App Store Optimisation and Search Ads. They not only help you set-up your App Store Search Ads campaign but also help you understand your user segments and the ever-changing App Store as well as market trends better.

Alternatively, you can look for smart tools like the Blackbox Platform to manage your Apple Search Ads efficiently. It combines the power of automation with the experience of industry experts to optimise your Search Ads.

All you need to do is tell the platform which app you want to promote and how much you want to spend. Then you can sit back and watch your app’s ad begin to appear at the top of the search results in the App Store.

Want to learn more about the Blackbox Platform and how it can help you get more app downloads from Apple Search Ads?Watch the below video.


Visibility matters in times when there is so much content on the web and thousands of apps under every category trying to capture a similar audience’s attention. It’s time to cut out the noise and reach high-intent, quality users with search ads.

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Apple Search Ads is expanding AGAIN!

July 26, 2018

New Territories for search ads

Since running their first Ad at the top of the US App Store in 2016, Apple search ads have expanded their reach by introducing waves of new ‘storefronts’ across the globe.

Search Ads is now available in the App Store across 7 different countries.

As of 4pm PDT 1st August 2018 (12am, 2nd August UK Time): Search Ads will be available in six new territories:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Spain

Search Ads works by allowing you to bid on specific keywords. It is an essential tool for app developers looking to widen their user base and increase downloads. With the arrival of the new territories, building a strong ad campaign is now more important than ever.

Fortunately, we are ready and well ahead of the game!

Blackbox Platform

Our Blackbox Platform is the easiest way to build Paid Search Campaigns for Search Ads. With intelligent keyword bidding and the ability to serve ads across all territories with ease.

Here at Redbox Mobile, we’ve been working hard to make sure that as soon as the new storefronts go live in Search Ads, our intelligent Blackbox Platform will start running campaigns in those territories.


[ Create Your Campaign ]


How our Blackbox Platform can help you:

Blackbox display

The Blackbox Platform automatically manages your campaigns and streamlines them into a single easy-to-use dashboard. This removes the need to build and manage multiple separate campaigns in Search Ads and adjust them manually. The Platform does this in 3 simple ways:

  1. Automated Keyword Translation


Blackbox doesn’t only bid on keywords in English. Once you have entered your list of core keywords the Platform automatically translates them into five different languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, German and Spanish. Additionally, with the new territories being released our platform will now translate your keywords into Italian and Japanese.

  1. Budget Optimisation


One of the key features of the Blackbox Platform is that it allows you to easily manage your budget. It also automatically optimises your spend for maximum impact. It does this by identifying the highest performing campaigns and drip feeding your budget accordingly. You can also pause campaigns for specific territories half way through spending and Blackbox will automatically adjust to focus your budget on remaining territories.

  1. Smart Keyword Bidding


Blackbox is always learning, and the longer your campaign is running the better the Platform gets at finding the cheapest bid prices for keywords that are core to your app. Blackbox makes millions of keyword bidding decisions per day, and is constantly optimising app campaigns to maximise performance and reduce spend.


Needless to say, the Blackbox Platform is the first of its kind. With 65% of iOS app downloads coming from Search Ads, now is the perfect time to optimise your campaign.

If, like us, you are impatient and want to start exploring the new territories right now you can set up your campaign on the Blackbox Platform today. Your campaign will launch as soon as the new territories go live at 4pm PDT on 1st August!


[ Launch Your Global Campaign ]


For more information about the Blackbox Platform, or how we can help you contact Redbox Mobile today.

Get in touch at info@redboxmobile.com give us a call: 01488 682 442


read our blog “Blackbox, The Machine Learning based Search Ads Tool”

Android is coming to Blackbox!

February 23, 2018

Do you have an app? If so, do you want to get more downloads? App store paid search is an effective and inexpensive way to increase traffic to your app.

The team at Redbox Mobile Plc have created a platform known as Blackbox, a machine-learning tool for managing your Search Ads campaigns. Blackbox optimises keywords every 10 minutes and makes 500,000 decisions a day so you don’t have to. We save our clients time and run efficient campaigns, helping businesses to get discovered in the App Store.

Blackbox currently operates on iOS, with Android coming soon, so watch this space for more information!

The Blackbox team can’t wait for #MWC2018 next week – we hope to see you there! Come and find us on stand 8.1J16 !

To book a meeting with a member of the Blackbox team, email admin@blackbox-platform.com.

Paid Search & The Need To Protect Your Brand

February 8, 2018

So, your ASO is completed and you are ranking for lots of core terms plus most importantly, your brand.

Then BAM, out of nowhere, you’re now second. How can this be? Your ASO strategy is near perfect, and surely nobody can rank better for your brand than your very own app?

But wait, it’s an advert. Somebody is buying my brand! This is not fair surely? If people search a brand, they want that specific brand. Well, it’s not that easy. It’s an open market, you can and will be attacked. Remember, the bigger the brand, the more of a target you become!

There is good news though. You can protect yourself from such threats by implementing a Paid Search Strategy to work with your ASO Foundation. A Paid Search Strategy will help protect you from the competitors benefiting from your brand and you can do this at a small cost as you will be the most relevant app. The perfect part of this strategy is that by buying your own brand, you not only have the number one spot, but also number two, which means you will dominate the iPhone screens.

The scary thing is that if you are not buying your own brand, somebody else is, or will do in the very near future. You would be amazed at the conversion rate that competitors can get from you. We have conducted a previous test for one of the top banks in the world. From the results, we saw them able to buy a competitor’s brand name at just £0.08p, with a conversion of 50%. Would you want to lose 50% of your brand traffic, for such a low cost?

Of course you don’t! That’s why you need to start protecting your brand. This is one of the reasons why we have developed Blackbox Platform and introduced a specific Brand Protection element to our campaigns.

More and more clients are connecting with us to protect their brand. Check out Blackbox Platform and get your campaign live now, with a free $100 spend. Experience the power of the platform and view the results in real time. Once you see what we can do, I’m sure you will want a long-term plan to protect your brand and expand your campaign.

If you are still searching for some help with ASO, check out our previous blog on ASO myths or contact our Redbox Agency for more information.

5 Mobile Marketing insights you need to be thinking about in 2018

February 2, 2018

The world of mobile marketing is an ever-changing beast; you need to be ahead of the curve in order to win in this sector. Redbox Mobile plc. is an award winning App Store Optimisation and Paid Search agency. We have come up with a list of our top 5 predictions that will shape app marketing strategies for agencies and brands over the next year. Read on if you’d like to hear about our predictions…

1. Instant apps will open up a new channel for app discovery
As you may know, Google began rolling out Instant Apps last year. Instant Apps allow users to ‘try out’ apps without actually downloading them onto their device. They can be accessed through clicking on a link in a search engine, on social media or within an instant message. The idea is that they will reduce barrier to entry, as users won’t need to worry about using up space on their device. We anticipate Apple will follow suit and offer Instant Apps to IOS customers this year. This is likely to spur on the already buoyant app development industry, so having an app that stands out from the rest has never been more important.

2. Internet of Things
The world we live in is becoming more and more connected, with smart homes, smart health, wearable tech and more. We are addicted to having ultimate control over our lives at the tap of a finger. For example, the ability to instantly find out how many steps we’ve walked today, to turn our heating up via an app before we get home from work or to record our favourite show remotely because we’re going to arrive back late. There are even apps to order a repeat prescription of the medication you are running out of!

Technology is making our modern lives more and more streamlined. Apple watch apps are already booming and will continue to grow, and with the increasing popularity of voice activated digital assistants like Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod or Google Alexa, the face of search is changing. Consumers no longer have to physically go into the app store and search for the latest app, they can ask their device to download it for them. For that reason, compliance with ASO and paid search best practices are more important than ever, as is keeping abreast with the latest algorithm changes. UX is still really important, but it is becoming more a more likely that you will be vying for a machine’s attention, rather than a human’s.

3. Location based services to go mainstream
Location-based services already made headlines in 2017 and their functionality is only set to grow in 2018. We predict the next big breakthrough to be real-time, location-based offers and advertisements. Companies will be able to suggest you shop from a retail store that you’re standing right in front of in real time.

We know that local search heavily impacts how major search engines like Google rank the websites in their index. Mobile device usage continues to grow and traditional desktop usage is declining. The mobile browser is effectively dead, with 90% of time on a mobile device spent in apps. As the number of apps in the app store continues to grow, local references will begin to be used as ranking factors in the app store. We already see this within Search ads, and are able to target our ads to specific cities, e.g. Manchester in the UK app store.

Of course, privacy remains a big concern, especially with upcoming changes to European data protection regulations later this year. When developing location-based apps and services, the consumer must always have a choice on whether or not they reveal their location based on the service they subscribe to.

4. M-Commerce is growing, putting pressure on cyber security to keep up the pace
Digital commerce is no longer restricted to just computers or smartphones. In-app payments across devices continue to grow, with payments from ‘other mobile devices’ expected to increase $1.75 billion this year. Consumers expect frictionless checkout experiences combined with the same level of security across all devices. With the number of cyber attacks and data breaches on the rise last year, mobile security will be a key theme for 2018. We expect to see tighter regulations around app security, which will impact app development trends.

(Image source: crysberry.com)

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are other factors to be thrown into the mobile commerce mix. They have received an increased amount of media attention and as such, mass market interest in these currencies is starting to grow. The appeal of cryptocurrencies lies in increased security they offer, fast secure global transactions and lower transaction fees, when compared to all existing currencies. These benefits could be particularly useful to app owners who have a global user base.

5. In App UX becomes more sophisticated… but data is still king
With the release of the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8, frameless design has become a huge trend. In 2018 we will continue to see an increase in full screen app designs and consumers will become accustomed to more sophisticated mobile experiences which, will continue to drive competition in app development and design.

Of course having a beautifully designed app will increase your likelihood of getting downloads, but as an app marketing agency, Redbox Mobile is particularly interested in a user’s behaviour and engagement in app. This can be viewed though implementation of an SDK. The data your SDK provides enables us to optimise your campaign so that we are targeting your most valuable users. For Search Ads, we have a machine-learning platform known as ‘Blackbox’, which automates the running of Apple Search Ads campaigns, making 500,000 optimisations a day. Blackbox optimises towards conversions and ensures your search ads campaigns run really efficiently.

We hope you enjoyed reading our top 5 Mobile Marketing predictions for the year ahead. To get in touch with a member of the Redbox Mobile team about your app marketing strategy, email admin@blackbox-platform.com.

5 ASO Myths you need to understand!

February 1, 2018

App Store Optimisation, or ASO, is still a grey area for a lot of app developers and owners. There are lots of people out there who simply think that if you build a great app, and then it will be hugely successful. But this could not be further than the truth. At Redbox Mobile plc, we want to help you cut through the smoke of App Marketing. ASO is crucial to an app’s success, but for every great tip there is also a myth, which could seriously damage your rankings. Below, we discuss the top 5 myths within the world of App Store Optimisation.

Myth #1 You should stuff keywords in your title
Keyword stuffing is a technique used by people with little ASO knowledge that will often end up with your app being penalised by the App Stores. Not only this, but often stuffing keywords ends up with an app title that makes little to no sense to the consumer. And if the title does not make sense, then why would they believe the app to make sense?

Myth #2 Descriptions are not important
Often people do not utilise their 4000 characters for an app description, opting to do a small, quickly written description with no thought. Whilst it is true that most consumers will not read your full description, it is very important to utilise this space to seed keywords. The description is part of the app listing that is reviewed by the operating systems, IOS and Android, to determine what your app is about and what you are trying to be found for. As an example, a casino client would look to have the words roulette or blackjack written at least 4 times in this area, to show they are relevant to the search engines.

Myth #3 “I’ve built a great app, So people will naturally download it”
It is widely believed that if you build the worlds greatest app, That it will go viral and people will download it. This is simply not the case. You could build an app that is free and offers every user £1000, but if it cannot be found, it will never be downloaded. That’s why ASO is so important. ASO allows you to be found by the right users. If your app lacks ASO, then it will be lost in the sea of over 2 million (Apple)/6 million (Android) apps. Having a great functioning App with great ratings and reviews will show a good experience and help your rankings, but it does not replace the need for App Store Optimisation.

Myth #4 Screenshots do not matter
Although your screenshots do not impact whether your app will be found, they have a massive impact on your conversion rating. ASO is not just about being found, but also converting those users to a download and loyal user. That’s where your screenshots come in. Do not under estimate the power of them. Take for example a screenshot that is too busy, with lots of information displayed. The brain quickly switches off and the user loses interest. In comparison, a phone that spans two colourful screenshots, with a simple call to action on each, is easy to read and encourages a user to download the app.

Myth #5 “I’m doing paid search so do not need organic traffic”
Paid search and organic go hand in hand, with both aiding one another. If you have good Meta data that keeps you relevant in your category, it allows you to firstly buy a keyword, but also buy it at an efficient cost. When you are relevant for a keyword, the app store will favour you at a reduced price point, as you are viewed as an app that the user is searching for. On the flip side, your paid search strategy will help you to acquire more downloads, so you gather more download history for that keyword and thus become more relevant organically.

We often advise clients, if they are having difficulties buying keywords in a particular space, that their organic strategy may need revisiting. Once this is addressed, we often see a huge boost in search ads activity, with more impressions, downloads and a more efficient advertising cost. If you are interested in automating your Apple Search Ads campaigns and would like to hear more about our machine-learning platform ‘Blackbox‘, email admin@blackbox-platform.com. Blackbox optimises keywords every 10 minutes and makes 500,000 decisions a day so you don’t have to. We save our clients time and money by running efficient campaigns, helping them get discovered in the App Store. Alternatively, call a member of the Redbox Mobile team on 01488 682442 to discuss your ASO strategy.

Blackbox, The Machine Learning based Search Ads Tool

January 19, 2018

So you’ve developed an App and are ready to go to market. What next?

Hopefully you’ve invested some time into App Store Optimisation, this will aid your next step.

Paid search comes in many forms, at Blackbox we concentrate on Apple Search Ads right now, with more coming. Apple Search Ads Is the ability to advertise your App at the top of the app store, for selected keywords. It gives everybody a chance to reach the crucial number 1 position.

Blackbox superchargers Apple Search Ads to ensure you get the cheapest cost and the highest downloads for your budget. It is a machine learning based, sleek, easy to use and feature full platform. We are even offering $100 free media spend to every new app that comes on the platform! This allows you to fully test out all the features yourself, before committing any of your own budget.

Of course, you can set up a campaign yourself on Apple Search Ads directly, using the Advanced version, or Basic if you are based in the U.S. Neither has the feature set and A.I that Blackbox does, so unless you are able to employ an army of experts to make 500,000 tweaks and changes every day, Blackbox will save you a serious amount of time, whilst ensuring your campaign runs at maximum efficiency!

How do I get started? Simple! We have created a video on the Blackbox homepage that shows you everything you need to know. Or Follow the steps below to be live in minutes:

  1. Go to www.blackbox-platform.com
  2. Select your app store territory and app
  3. Click “lets get started”
  4. Sign up with Google or your email & confirm your email address
  5. The campaign will now build for you, pulling in keywords from your metadata, category and competitors.
  6. Select any keywords you wish to boost
  7. Select your CPA Goals and budget
  8. You’re ready to go live! Make sure to check back regularly to see your results

The Blackbox team are on hand to assist you with campaign setup queries and to make optimisation suggestions. To get in touch, email admin@blackbox-platform.com.

The Only Way Is UAC

November 13, 2017

A new chapter in paid advertising has almost arrived; with the focus shifting from manually optimising demographic targeting and Cost Per Click (CPC) bidding strategies to a more automated, machine learning driven, approach. A couple of months ago, Google announced that Mobile app install campaigns will be eclipsed by Universal App Campaigns (UACs) and, as of tomorrow (15th November 2017), all existing Search, Display and YouTube app promotion campaigns will stop running.

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