How to use Apple Search Ads

  • Updated


What are Apple search ads? 

Simply put, Apple search ads are the small advertisements you see inside the app store when you are searching for an app.

They will always appear at the top of your search results listings and you can recognize them as they have a light blue background and an ad icon.


Examples of Apple search ads


Can you run search ads?

You can run search ads under 2 conditions:

  1. You must be an app developer. This means you must own your own Apple developer account.
  2. You must be based in a country that supports search ads. You can find a full list of the countries here: List (You don’t need to sign in, scroll down the page to see the list)


How do I use search ads? 

Head to the search ads page on Apple’s website and login with your Apple ID. Apple offers two kinds of ad account: 

  • Apple search ad basic
  • Apple search ad advanced

 For this guide, we’ll be focusing on the search ad basic. 

Search ad basic takes your app name, description, videos, and screenshots and turns them into an advert for the app store. Unlike some other paid ad channels (Facebook, Google Ad words, etc) you do not have the option to tailor your ad. 

You cannot create a unique image for your ad or write a catchy title. 

The app store will take your app’s text and video content and use that to decide who to show your app too. So make sure you’re app store optimization is good before running any ads. If you don’t do this you might find your ad gets shown to the wrong people.

If you’re going to run Apple search ads it’s a good idea to do app store optimization on your app first, then wait 24 hours before paying for your ad. This gives the Apple algorithm time to see the changes you’ve made to your app and it will better understand who your app is for.    


How much do these ads cost?

Basic search ads are charged per installation. App wizzes refer to this metric as the Cost Per Installation (CPI). When deciding how much you want to spend on advertising your app all you need to do is set a monthly budget and decide how much you want each installation to cost you. 


For example: 

If you had a monthly ad budget of $100 dollars and you wanted to get 20 app downloads you’d set your CPI at $5. 

Once you’ve done this Apple will look at these metrics and try its best to hit that target. 

Apple will suggest a CPI based on what it knows about your app, the market you are in, and your customers. 


Do Apple Search Ads work?

They may be a bit biased but according to Apple, they do. They’ve released several testimonials showing how developers have achieved effective ROI on their campaigns. Check out the testimonials below:

Apple Search Ads Success Stories

If you’d like to dive further into Apple search ads and explore the advanced features you can use this article: How Apple search ads work



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