In June 2016, Apple released a beta version of its new Search Ads platform to promote mobile app downloads. On October 5th, Search Ads were released to all advertisers. Early adopters are seeing excellent results with very low competition and CPTs (cost-per-taps).

Boost Media shares ideas on integrating Apple Search Ads into your overall mobile app marketing mix.

Why now is the time to test Apple Search Ads

The first couple weeks have proved fruitful for advertisers using Apple Search Ads. The new advertising platform has also given smaller budget brands an opportunity to purchase ad space on certain keywords, landing them in a top position in search results.

According to Mobile Action, advertisers using the new platform are seeing an average conversion rate of 49.4%, and an average of just $0.40 cost-per-acquisition. Since Apple Search Ads uses auction-based bidding, costs will rise significantly as soon as more advertisers enter the space. Boost recommends starting your testing now if you want to catch the early-mover advantage!

Apple Search Ads for driving downloads

It’s helpful to think of searching the App Store as the last action someone takes before downloading an app—a bottom-of-funnel effort. App downloads can only be captured through Apple Search Ads from people already looking for your app or a similar app. If you want to capture people who don’t yet know they want your app or aren’t aware of it, you’ll need to pursue other avenues such as SEM, in-app advertising, and Facebook or Instagram ads.

According to U.S. App Store data, more than 65% of downloads come directly from a search on the App Store. This is an impressive percentage; however, it means 45% of mobile app downloads still need to be driven by other advertising avenues. All the more reason to consider that several touch-points may be required to generate a download of your mobile app.

Apple Search Ads for driving app engagement

Generating app installs isn’t the only focus required to grow a brand. It’s important to find ways of getting people to use your mobile app regularly. People often download an app and then never open it. Use Apple Search Ads as a vehicle for recapturing the attention of potential app users when they search for something related to your app—to encourage them to open and use your app.

Additionally, it may be worth bidding higher on existing app users than non-app users, because they are already interested in your app and may be more likely to engage with your ad. We recommend creating separate campaigns for driving app engagement and for app downloads since they are two different campaign objectives that need to be measured and optimized separately.

Where to go from here

Start testing Apple Search Ads as part of your mobile marketing mix today to take advantage of the cheap downloads, while they last. So far, the returns on investment in Apple Search Ads look promising. Check back next week—Boost Media will be sharing some tips on understanding Apple Search Ads for those already versed in AdWords search ads.