Maximizing Apple Search Ads

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9

Fraser Sim (Head of Sales at Redbox Mobile - ASO/ASA agency and tool) and Tilly Roberts (Senior Product Owner at Redbox Mobile) discuss Apple Search Ads optimizations: how to bid on new keywords, the best ways to do keyword discovery and how to leverage ASO for ASA.

Source:
Maximizing Apple Search Ads
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Webinar
Publication date:
December 10, 2020
Added to the Vault on:
January 19, 2021
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💎 #
1

When a keyword is new to a campaign, put the bid higher than you normally would so you can properly sample the relevancy of the keyword for your app. Because if the TTR is too low due to a lack of impressions, ASA won't give a chance to that keyword.

06:20
💎 #
2

Some longer tail keywords can work well. One example is to have your brand term + "for iPhone" or "for iPad" in the keyword. Even though it is not needed for users to specify this, it seems that some (older?) audiences do.

13:07
💎 #
3

The keyword your search term is matched tomay not be what the user searched for: it can also be what they selected from keyword suggestion. This is why we often see the full app name as being searched. You can leverage this for your brand and competitor campaigns.

13:43
💎 #
4

ASO can affect your relevancy score and therefore your costs in 2 ways:
1. Through the keywords used in your app listing by providing an indication of relevancy for those searches
2. Through the presentation of your app in the search results by encouraging users to tap on your ad

15:41
💎 #
5

Keyword relevancy is stored at the app level rather than at the campaign level so transferring keywords between campaigns should keep the historical performance (unless it's been too long).

23:50
💎 #
6

Location targeting is based on where the Apple id was registered rather than where they actually are. It's also not uncommon for users to commute to different cities. So use it carefully.

25:20
💎 #
7

If you rank 1st organically for a search term it is always the default image ad that will be shown, not the Creative Set. That's because the first 3 screenshots are used for the ad and the 3 following screenshots are used for the organic result.

28:28
💎 #
8

Driving more in-app events for specific events might not be about increasing the number of impressions you're generating (through increasing your bids for example) but instead about increasing your TTR. Improving your screenshots can help increase the likelihood of users engaging with your ad.

36:30
💎 #
9

The question is not necessarily if your should protect your brand or not (you probably should). It can also be at which price you decide to stop protecting your brand.

39:37
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  • Define your preferred categories and receive new relevant gems directly in your inbox
  • Discuss key insights (and any other mobile growth topic) in the members-only community.
Upgrade Your Plan
💎 #
1

When a keyword is new to a campaign, put the bid higher than you normally would so you can properly sample the relevancy of the keyword for your app. Because if the TTR is too low due to a lack of impressions, ASA won't give a chance to that keyword.

06:20
💎 #
2

Some longer tail keywords can work well. One example is to have your brand term + "for iPhone" or "for iPad" in the keyword. Even though it is not needed for users to specify this, it seems that some (older?) audiences do.

13:07
💎 #
3

The keyword your search term is matched tomay not be what the user searched for: it can also be what they selected from keyword suggestion. This is why we often see the full app name as being searched. You can leverage this for your brand and competitor campaigns.

13:43
💎 #
4

ASO can affect your relevancy score and therefore your costs in 2 ways:
1. Through the keywords used in your app listing by providing an indication of relevancy for those searches
2. Through the presentation of your app in the search results by encouraging users to tap on your ad

15:41
💎 #
5

Keyword relevancy is stored at the app level rather than at the campaign level so transferring keywords between campaigns should keep the historical performance (unless it's been too long).

23:50
💎 #
6

Location targeting is based on where the Apple id was registered rather than where they actually are. It's also not uncommon for users to commute to different cities. So use it carefully.

25:20
💎 #
7

If you rank 1st organically for a search term it is always the default image ad that will be shown, not the Creative Set. That's because the first 3 screenshots are used for the ad and the 3 following screenshots are used for the organic result.

28:28
💎 #
8

Driving more in-app events for specific events might not be about increasing the number of impressions you're generating (through increasing your bids for example) but instead about increasing your TTR. Improving your screenshots can help increase the likelihood of users engaging with your ad.

36:30
💎 #
9

The question is not necessarily if your should protect your brand or not (you probably should). It can also be at which price you decide to stop protecting your brand.

39:37
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💎 #
1

When a keyword is new to a campaign, put the bid higher than you normally would so you can properly sample the relevancy of the keyword for your app. Because if the TTR is too low due to a lack of impressions, ASA won't give a chance to that keyword.

06:20
💎 #
2

Some longer tail keywords can work well. One example is to have your brand term + "for iPhone" or "for iPad" in the keyword. Even though it is not needed for users to specify this, it seems that some (older?) audiences do.

13:07
💎 #
3

The keyword your search term is matched tomay not be what the user searched for: it can also be what they selected from keyword suggestion. This is why we often see the full app name as being searched. You can leverage this for your brand and competitor campaigns.

13:43
💎 #
4

ASO can affect your relevancy score and therefore your costs in 2 ways:
1. Through the keywords used in your app listing by providing an indication of relevancy for those searches
2. Through the presentation of your app in the search results by encouraging users to tap on your ad

15:41
💎 #
5

Keyword relevancy is stored at the app level rather than at the campaign level so transferring keywords between campaigns should keep the historical performance (unless it's been too long).

23:50
💎 #
6

Location targeting is based on where the Apple id was registered rather than where they actually are. It's also not uncommon for users to commute to different cities. So use it carefully.

25:20
💎 #
7

If you rank 1st organically for a search term it is always the default image ad that will be shown, not the Creative Set. That's because the first 3 screenshots are used for the ad and the 3 following screenshots are used for the organic result.

28:28
💎 #
8

Driving more in-app events for specific events might not be about increasing the number of impressions you're generating (through increasing your bids for example) but instead about increasing your TTR. Improving your screenshots can help increase the likelihood of users engaging with your ad.

36:30
💎 #
9

The question is not necessarily if your should protect your brand or not (you probably should). It can also be at which price you decide to stop protecting your brand.

39:37
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Why conservative bids can lead to higher tap costs?

[💎 @06:20] When a keyword is new to a campaign, put the bid higher than you normally would so you can properly sample the relevancy of the keyword for your app. Because if the TTR is too low due to a lack of impressions, ASA won't give a chance to that keyword.


The duration of that initial period of time depends on the number of impressions and taps you can get. You want to have a pretty stable TTR.


Past this initial phase, you need to know how much you're willing to pay for a download or event (i.e the profitability you want).


How best to do keyword discovery

Usually you can't just increase bids to scale your campaign. It's best to find new keywords to bid on through discovery.


It's not the proportion of discovery/exact match keywords that matter, it's the proportion of taps they're generating.


You can set your discovery bids as a percentage of the cost per download goal, for example 20 to 40% (depending on how long the discovery ad group has been running). Of course make sure you have negative keywords in your discovery ad group.


[💎 @13:07] Some longer tail keywords can work well. One example is to have your brand term + "for iPhone" or "for iPad" in the keyword. Even though it is not needed for users to specify this, it seems that some (older?) audiences do.


[💎 @13:43] The keyword your search term is matched to may not be what the user searched for: it can also be what they selected from keyword suggestion. This is why we often see the full app name as being searched. You can leverage this for your brand and competitor campaigns.


ASO and its impact on ASA

RedBox has always considered the role of ASO in ASA campaigns.

[💎 @15:41] ASO can affect your relevancy score and therefore your costs in 2 ways:

  1. Through the keywords used in your app listing by providing an indication of relevancy for those searches
  2. Through the presentation of your app in the search results by encouraging users to tap on your ad


Your app title, subtitle and keyword fields are what's most important for your app.


There are two types of ads: text ads and image ads. If you have at least 6 portrait screenshots Apple will show a total of 6 screenshots in the search results if you have the 1st organic slot: 3 for the ad, 3 for the organic search results.


How to scale


Questions

ASA & MMPs discrepancies: would you recommend adding demographic targeting to the campaign?

  • If you have age or gender targeting, then you will target only LAT off users. But it reduces your audience and LAT off traffic is more expensive (and will probably keep being more expensive). So you might be better off targeting everybody and estimating performance by applying a coefficient.

If I start a new campaign, does Apple consider my historical performance from the old campaign?

  • [💎 @23:50] Keyword relevancy is stored at the app level rather than at the campaign level so transferring keywords between campaigns should keep the historical performance (unless it's been too long).

If the functionality of my app is only available in certain cities, would you recommend location targeting?

  • [💎 @25:20] Location targeting is based on where the Apple id was registered rather than where they actually are. It's also not uncommon for users to commute to different cities.
  • So even though it is possible to target by location it might be better instead to add the city name to your keywords and make it clear on your app listing where the app is available.

Best tips for creative sets?

  • Creative Sets allow you to have some control (at the ad group level) to cover what users are searching for.
  • Make sure you have good assets to start with
  • Keep in mind an app release is needed for new screenshots
  • [💎 @28:28] If you rank 1st organically for a search term it is always the default image ad that will be shown, not the Creative Set. That's because the first 3 screenshots are used for the ad and the 3 following screenshots are used for the organic result (cf. here).


Q&A

App Preview videos can be shown within the image ad (i.e it's not just images)

Should you stop bidding on keywords if you rank #1 organically?

  • You shouldn't because there is a difference between your ad showing above your organic listing and a competitor's ad showing above your organic listing.

Do you accept the bid recommendation for Apple, which tends to be a bit high?

  • There are suggested low and high bids in ASA after a while. After the initial phase, what's most important is to work out what's profitable enough for you.

Do you agree with the split that ASA reps suggest for brand/generic/discovery

  • Your CPT optimization needs to be done at the keyword level anyway, so that split is not that important.

Optimizing for sales or installs?

  • Apple is not transparent with how the search algorithm works but it's clear that the number of downloads you get for a specific time range has a big impact on your rankings.
  • Doesn't know if Apple takes into account post-install events, especially if they are not in-app purchases (since that's defined at the MMP level).

How to get more impressions on keywords that drive events?

  • Increasing your bids is the obvious but it might change your costs.
  • [💎 @36:30] Driving more in-app events for specific events might not be about increasing the number of impressions you're generating (through increasing your bids for example) but instead about increasing your TTR. Improving your screenshots can help increase the likelihood of users engaging with your ad.

IDFA changes

  • Impact will depend on what event you're optimizing for: if you're optimizing for installs it won't be a problem, if it's for in-app events you might need to adjust. Apple is also coming up with a different attribution than everybody else.
  • We might see advertisers put more budget in ASA which would increase costs. Keyword discovery and a good ASO strategy would then be more important than ever.

Defining if you should protect your brand or not might not be about the numbers/performance but be a "brand" decision (making sure you're the only one showing up at the top). Timing can also matter: when is it the most important to protect it?

[💎 @39:37] The question is not necessarily if your should protect your brand or not. It can also be at which price you decide to stop protecting your brand.

Wishlist for new features in ASA?

  • Hoping to see keyword popularity in API
  • Share of Voice reports have been helpful to review at the keyword level.
  • More recommendations on impression volume?


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

Why conservative bids can lead to higher tap costs?

[💎 @06:20] When a keyword is new to a campaign, put the bid higher than you normally would so you can properly sample the relevancy of the keyword for your app. Because if the TTR is too low due to a lack of impressions, ASA won't give a chance to that keyword.


The duration of that initial period of time depends on the number of impressions and taps you can get. You want to have a pretty stable TTR.


Past this initial phase, you need to know how much you're willing to pay for a download or event (i.e the profitability you want).


How best to do keyword discovery

Usually you can't just increase bids to scale your campaign. It's best to find new keywords to bid on through discovery.


It's not the proportion of discovery/exact match keywords that matter, it's the proportion of taps they're generating.


You can set your discovery bids as a percentage of the cost per download goal, for example 20 to 40% (depending on how long the discovery ad group has been running). Of course make sure you have negative keywords in your discovery ad group.


[💎 @13:07] Some longer tail keywords can work well. One example is to have your brand term + "for iPhone" or "for iPad" in the keyword. Even though it is not needed for users to specify this, it seems that some (older?) audiences do.


[💎 @13:43] The keyword your search term is matched to may not be what the user searched for: it can also be what they selected from keyword suggestion. This is why we often see the full app name as being searched. You can leverage this for your brand and competitor campaigns.


ASO and its impact on ASA

RedBox has always considered the role of ASO in ASA campaigns.

[💎 @15:41] ASO can affect your relevancy score and therefore your costs in 2 ways:

  1. Through the keywords used in your app listing by providing an indication of relevancy for those searches
  2. Through the presentation of your app in the search results by encouraging users to tap on your ad


Your app title, subtitle and keyword fields are what's most important for your app.


There are two types of ads: text ads and image ads. If you have at least 6 portrait screenshots Apple will show a total of 6 screenshots in the search results if you have the 1st organic slot: 3 for the ad, 3 for the organic search results.


How to scale


Questions

ASA & MMPs discrepancies: would you recommend adding demographic targeting to the campaign?

  • If you have age or gender targeting, then you will target only LAT off users. But it reduces your audience and LAT off traffic is more expensive (and will probably keep being more expensive). So you might be better off targeting everybody and estimating performance by applying a coefficient.

If I start a new campaign, does Apple consider my historical performance from the old campaign?

  • [💎 @23:50] Keyword relevancy is stored at the app level rather than at the campaign level so transferring keywords between campaigns should keep the historical performance (unless it's been too long).

If the functionality of my app is only available in certain cities, would you recommend location targeting?

  • [💎 @25:20] Location targeting is based on where the Apple id was registered rather than where they actually are. It's also not uncommon for users to commute to different cities.
  • So even though it is possible to target by location it might be better instead to add the city name to your keywords and make it clear on your app listing where the app is available.

Best tips for creative sets?

  • Creative Sets allow you to have some control (at the ad group level) to cover what users are searching for.
  • Make sure you have good assets to start with
  • Keep in mind an app release is needed for new screenshots
  • [💎 @28:28] If you rank 1st organically for a search term it is always the default image ad that will be shown, not the Creative Set. That's because the first 3 screenshots are used for the ad and the 3 following screenshots are used for the organic result (cf. here).


Q&A

App Preview videos can be shown within the image ad (i.e it's not just images)

Should you stop bidding on keywords if you rank #1 organically?

  • You shouldn't because there is a difference between your ad showing above your organic listing and a competitor's ad showing above your organic listing.

Do you accept the bid recommendation for Apple, which tends to be a bit high?

  • There are suggested low and high bids in ASA after a while. After the initial phase, what's most important is to work out what's profitable enough for you.

Do you agree with the split that ASA reps suggest for brand/generic/discovery

  • Your CPT optimization needs to be done at the keyword level anyway, so that split is not that important.

Optimizing for sales or installs?

  • Apple is not transparent with how the search algorithm works but it's clear that the number of downloads you get for a specific time range has a big impact on your rankings.
  • Doesn't know if Apple takes into account post-install events, especially if they are not in-app purchases (since that's defined at the MMP level).

How to get more impressions on keywords that drive events?

  • Increasing your bids is the obvious but it might change your costs.
  • [💎 @36:30] Driving more in-app events for specific events might not be about increasing the number of impressions you're generating (through increasing your bids for example) but instead about increasing your TTR. Improving your screenshots can help increase the likelihood of users engaging with your ad.

IDFA changes

  • Impact will depend on what event you're optimizing for: if you're optimizing for installs it won't be a problem, if it's for in-app events you might need to adjust. Apple is also coming up with a different attribution than everybody else.
  • We might see advertisers put more budget in ASA which would increase costs. Keyword discovery and a good ASO strategy would then be more important than ever.

Defining if you should protect your brand or not might not be about the numbers/performance but be a "brand" decision (making sure you're the only one showing up at the top). Timing can also matter: when is it the most important to protect it?

[💎 @39:37] The question is not necessarily if your should protect your brand or not. It can also be at which price you decide to stop protecting your brand.

Wishlist for new features in ASA?

  • Hoping to see keyword popularity in API
  • Share of Voice reports have been helpful to review at the keyword level.
  • More recommendations on impression volume?


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

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↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
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Why conservative bids can lead to higher tap costs?

[💎 @06:20] When a keyword is new to a campaign, put the bid higher than you normally would so you can properly sample the relevancy of the keyword for your app. Because if the TTR is too low due to a lack of impressions, ASA won't give a chance to that keyword.


The duration of that initial period of time depends on the number of impressions and taps you can get. You want to have a pretty stable TTR.


Past this initial phase, you need to know how much you're willing to pay for a download or event (i.e the profitability you want).


How best to do keyword discovery

Usually you can't just increase bids to scale your campaign. It's best to find new keywords to bid on through discovery.


It's not the proportion of discovery/exact match keywords that matter, it's the proportion of taps they're generating.


You can set your discovery bids as a percentage of the cost per download goal, for example 20 to 40% (depending on how long the discovery ad group has been running). Of course make sure you have negative keywords in your discovery ad group.


[💎 @13:07] Some longer tail keywords can work well. One example is to have your brand term + "for iPhone" or "for iPad" in the keyword. Even though it is not needed for users to specify this, it seems that some (older?) audiences do.


[💎 @13:43] The keyword your search term is matched to may not be what the user searched for: it can also be what they selected from keyword suggestion. This is why we often see the full app name as being searched. You can leverage this for your brand and competitor campaigns.


ASO and its impact on ASA

RedBox has always considered the role of ASO in ASA campaigns.

[💎 @15:41] ASO can affect your relevancy score and therefore your costs in 2 ways:

  1. Through the keywords used in your app listing by providing an indication of relevancy for those searches
  2. Through the presentation of your app in the search results by encouraging users to tap on your ad


Your app title, subtitle and keyword fields are what's most important for your app.


There are two types of ads: text ads and image ads. If you have at least 6 portrait screenshots Apple will show a total of 6 screenshots in the search results if you have the 1st organic slot: 3 for the ad, 3 for the organic search results.


How to scale


Questions

ASA & MMPs discrepancies: would you recommend adding demographic targeting to the campaign?

  • If you have age or gender targeting, then you will target only LAT off users. But it reduces your audience and LAT off traffic is more expensive (and will probably keep being more expensive). So you might be better off targeting everybody and estimating performance by applying a coefficient.

If I start a new campaign, does Apple consider my historical performance from the old campaign?

  • [💎 @23:50] Keyword relevancy is stored at the app level rather than at the campaign level so transferring keywords between campaigns should keep the historical performance (unless it's been too long).

If the functionality of my app is only available in certain cities, would you recommend location targeting?

  • [💎 @25:20] Location targeting is based on where the Apple id was registered rather than where they actually are. It's also not uncommon for users to commute to different cities.
  • So even though it is possible to target by location it might be better instead to add the city name to your keywords and make it clear on your app listing where the app is available.

Best tips for creative sets?

  • Creative Sets allow you to have some control (at the ad group level) to cover what users are searching for.
  • Make sure you have good assets to start with
  • Keep in mind an app release is needed for new screenshots
  • [💎 @28:28] If you rank 1st organically for a search term it is always the default image ad that will be shown, not the Creative Set. That's because the first 3 screenshots are used for the ad and the 3 following screenshots are used for the organic result (cf. here).


Q&A

App Preview videos can be shown within the image ad (i.e it's not just images)

Should you stop bidding on keywords if you rank #1 organically?

  • You shouldn't because there is a difference between your ad showing above your organic listing and a competitor's ad showing above your organic listing.

Do you accept the bid recommendation for Apple, which tends to be a bit high?

  • There are suggested low and high bids in ASA after a while. After the initial phase, what's most important is to work out what's profitable enough for you.

Do you agree with the split that ASA reps suggest for brand/generic/discovery

  • Your CPT optimization needs to be done at the keyword level anyway, so that split is not that important.

Optimizing for sales or installs?

  • Apple is not transparent with how the search algorithm works but it's clear that the number of downloads you get for a specific time range has a big impact on your rankings.
  • Doesn't know if Apple takes into account post-install events, especially if they are not in-app purchases (since that's defined at the MMP level).

How to get more impressions on keywords that drive events?

  • Increasing your bids is the obvious but it might change your costs.
  • [💎 @36:30] Driving more in-app events for specific events might not be about increasing the number of impressions you're generating (through increasing your bids for example) but instead about increasing your TTR. Improving your screenshots can help increase the likelihood of users engaging with your ad.

IDFA changes

  • Impact will depend on what event you're optimizing for: if you're optimizing for installs it won't be a problem, if it's for in-app events you might need to adjust. Apple is also coming up with a different attribution than everybody else.
  • We might see advertisers put more budget in ASA which would increase costs. Keyword discovery and a good ASO strategy would then be more important than ever.

Defining if you should protect your brand or not might not be about the numbers/performance but be a "brand" decision (making sure you're the only one showing up at the top). Timing can also matter: when is it the most important to protect it?

[💎 @39:37] The question is not necessarily if your should protect your brand or not. It can also be at which price you decide to stop protecting your brand.

Wishlist for new features in ASA?

  • Hoping to see keyword popularity in API
  • Share of Voice reports have been helpful to review at the keyword level.
  • More recommendations on impression volume?