Apple Search Ads (ASA) now offers four placements for advertisers to promote their app. These are Search Tab, Search Results, Today Tab and Product Pages – while browsing. Search Tab and Search Results have both been long-standing options, but Today Tab and Product Pages were introduced earlier this year, since their announcement in July. The expansion gives advertisers more reach and the opportunity to drive installs from users wherever they might be in the App Store.
What are the placements?
The Today Tab is the front page of the App Store, the first place a user lands when they open the app. Here you can reach users with highly engaging ads and impact them immediately. This placement is excellent for driving awareness as your ad will be one of the first pieces of content users consume when they enter the App Store. However, it’s worth noting that users here are likely to show less intent to download as they’ve not actively sought your app.
Ads on this placement are created from a custom product page set up in App Store Connect, and you’ll need to get approval for advertising before they can be run.
Product Pages – while browsing
Advertisers can reach users while browsing relevant product pages on this placement. Advertisers can run ads across all relevant app categories or narrow their targeting to specific ones. Intent to download is expected to be higher than the Today Tab since users have expressed assumed interest in your app through engagement with related App Store pages.
Here, ads are created from your App Store product page. They will display your app name, icon and subtitle.
Search is the primary placement for app discovery on the App Store. After a user has navigated to the Search Tab but before they search, your ad will show at the top of the suggested apps list. Whilst users on the Search Tab show good intent to take immediate download action, it’s important to note that your ad is shown before the search. Hence, advertisers rely on ASA’s machine learning algorithm’s interpretation of relevance to find the best users.
Here, ads are created the same way as Product Pages – while browsing ads from your App Store Product page.
Target users with ads after they’ve searched with a relevant query. Advertisers have high control through Exact Match keyword targeting but can also use Search Match campaigns which target ads against queries ASA believes to be suitable from its interpretation of your app, primarily from your App Store page. Users on this placement show the highest intent to download.
Default ads are created from your app’s product page, but advertisers can create bespoke ads and pages using custom product pages in App Store Connect.
Why should you care?
These new placements should be particularly welcome additions for advertisers using the platform. Whilst the quality of users on ASA is typically high – our data reports CTRs up to 16x higher and CPIs 3x lower than Google App Campaigns throughout October 2022 – the main limitation of the platform is reach, which is comparatively limited versus both Google and Meta’s app advertising platforms.
In addition, advertisers who utilise ASA’s basic audience targeting options will see their campaigns throttled as their serving is limited to only those users who have opted into personalised advertising. To give some context to this impact, Apple reported that in the first quarter of 2022, 78% of iOS search volume on the App Store came from devices with personalised ads turned off. This is a significant challenge for marketers who wish to (or are required to in the case of specific app verticals like iGaming) target based on age or gender demographics. All of this is to say that the Today Tab and Product Pages placements give advertisers valuable additional reach on the platform. Both deserve consideration in an advertiser’s ASA strategy.
More reach means increased visibility and the ability to hit more users across the platform with potentially more engaging ads. Advertisers should undoubtedly take advantage of these new opportunities in a constant evolution of their strategy and activation. However, there’s no guaranteed success from the adoption of new formats. Each new environment needs further questions to be answered to leverage them most effectively. How do users behave in the placement? How high is their intent to install? How will my ad look? How are ads targeted? What is the competitor auction landscape like? How expensive will the auction be? As with any new feature, advertisers must test each of these placements properly to understand how they can work for their app and advertising goals.
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