The App Store is one of the largest app marketplaces in the world, with more than 2 million apps available. While the number continues to grow, making an app or mobile game visible, remains to be one of the biggest challenges mobile publishers face. 

Apple Search Ads is a paid user acquisition channel that meets the needs of both users and advertisers. The former ones can quickly find what they need using the App Store search. On the other hand, the latter ones benefit from reaching out to their target audience. 

SearchAdsHQ by SplitMetrics carried out a study analyzing how Apple Search Ads performed in the first half of 2021 across 15 app categories and 61 countries. In terms of the average tap-through rate (TTR), conversion rate (CR), cost metrics (such as cost per acquisition (CPA) and cost per tap (CPT)), was introduced in the Apple Search Ads Benchmarks Report Q1-Q2 2021. The report enables mobile marketers to compare the performance of their apps to the industry averages, identify room for growth, and target users more effectively.

Here are a few insights from the report:

1.  Average TTR  increased by almost 3% and amounted to 9.17% in Q1-Q2 2021. This is proof of the growing effectiveness of the ad channel in terms of the IDFA deprecation and other updates that iOS 14 involved.

Source: SearchAdsHQ

2.  Another wave of COVID- 19 made a huge impact on the world, affecting the mobile app market as well. In the pursuit of work-life balance and maintaining mental and physical health, to entertain themselves and get a change of pace without leaving home, people started to install more games, education, lifestyle, health, and fitness apps. 

Entertainment, lifestyle, and sport app categories achieved the highest conversion rate in the first two quarters of 2021.

In 2021, the travel category performed better. This may be due to the fact that borders were opened in some countries (at least for some time), and this aroused interest amongst tourists.

Source: SearchAdsHQ

3.  Average conversion rate on Apple Search Ads has always been around 50%, according to Apple, but in the first half of 2021, it experienced dramatic growth and reached 60.60%. 

Source: SearchAdsHQ

4.  Trading and cryptocurrency apps showed an unprecedented level of activity (the crypto market beat its own record in Q1 and Q2 of 2021), so CPT and CPA were 2.5-3 times higher than the Finance category average.

5.  In comparison to 2018, during Q2 in 2021, the average CPT and CPA grew with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 5.12% for CPT and 4.75% for CPA.

6.  The United States, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Germany remain the most competitive countries in terms of Apple Search Ads, with the US remaining as the head of the list. 

Source: SearchAdsHQ

Source: SearchAdsHQ

To get more insights and make data-driven decisions when it comes to the acquisition strategy,  download the full Apple Search Ads benchmarks report. Browsing through the 15 most popular App Store categories will give you a better understanding of current trends and the opportunity to discover new growth opportunities for your app. As a bonus, get additional insights on Search tab ads, a new ad placement tactic introduced in May 2021.