Previously, Boost Media shared an overview of Apple Search Ads vs. AdWords to help search marketers understand the new app advertising platform. Now, it’s time to delve deeper into the nuances to help you set up and manage your first Apple Search Ads campaign.


Apple Search Ads features and functionality

Here are some of the nuances associated with Apple Search Ads—generally more straightforward than AdWords, but without a lot of the bells and whistles—at least for now while it’s new.

Audience. You can target existing app users or users of other apps you own, as long as: they’re associated under the same Apple ID; that Apple ID is what you used to sign up for Apple Search Ads; and you have at least 5,000 audience members (app users).

Demographics. You can set targeting by age and gender.

Location. Geo-targeting is available at the city- and state-level, within the U.S., only. There is currently no zip code targeting option.

Bid multipliers. Bid multipliers are not available. If you want to, for example, bid differently between iPhone and iPad users, you’d need to create duplicate campaigns to target only one device type at a time (and negatively target the other device type). Similarly, you’d need to set up another campaign mirror to accomplish bid differentiation by location or time of day. Given the low CPT (cost per tap), this level of granularity is likely unnecessary for most advertisers.

Conversion tracking. To accurately measure the value of Apple Search Ads, add the Search Ads Attribution Code to your app, which is just a few lines of code. Search Ads Attribution enables you to track not just when an app is downloaded, but when an app is opened. You can also see the lifetime value of customers from Apple Search Ads and attribute app opens to the keyword that fired the ad initially.

Conversion window. Apple search ads have a 30-day “tap through” conversion window which you cannot edit.


Apple Search Ads workflow tips

For optimizing your worklflow when setting up a Search Ads campaign, consider the following tips.

Agency account ownership. Campaigns can be created as part of a campaign “group” which is like an account in AdWords. But, all campaign groups are billed under a single invoice. Agencies wishing to manage multiple Apple Search Ads programs on behalf of different clients will have to pay media spend and manage billing themselves, which can be paid by credit card. Large advertisers can also request an insertion order (IO) for monthly billing.

Bulk uploads. Apple Search Ads offers a basic CSV bulk upload option for adding new keywords. You can also use the bulksheet to make changes to keywords, such as changing keyword bids. The bulksheet is a bit cumbersome in that you must associate keywords by Ad Group ID and campaign ID rather than campaign and Ad Group name. At least you also don’t have to worry about mapping landing pages to keywords!


Apple Search Ads Keyword Bulksheet


Match Types. Broad match is the default match type. If you want to use exact match, either hover over each keyword to select “exact” from the drop-down toggle (which you must hover over to see), or use the bulk upload feature described previously to edit match types.

Platform access. Apple Search Ads is not accessible via Internet Explorer. You’ll need to use Chrome or Safari.


Where to go from here

With insight into the nuances of Apple Search Ads, we wish you luck in setting up your first campaign. Now is an excellent time to take advantage of this new app advertising platform— CPT (cost-per-tap) is low, and the returns can be high.