What was the last app that you downloaded? How did you find it? If you’re like any of 35% of other smartphone users (according to comScore), you probably found the app by searching in the App Store or seeing it listed as a featured or top app within the Store.  For advertisers, this statistic can be both exciting and frustrating, with 50% of digital media time spent in Smartphone apps and only so many ways to reach those consumers.

From comScore via Search Engine Land

Fortunately, hope is not lost! After the completion of its beta period announced in June, Apple will soon be following Google’s lead and allowing advertisers to promote their apps via Search Ads within the App Store.

According to Apple, these new Search Ads will provide “an efficient and easy way to help people discover your app” and will be active on both iPhone and iPad. The ads go live on Wednesday, October 5, with initial availability only for U.S. publishers and developers.

Campaign setup for these Search Ads is relatively straightforward: Apple will automatically generate the ad based on metadata and images already in the App Store. Advertisers define overall and daily budgets and set bids on a cost-per-tap (CPT) basis or CPA target.


Advertisers can also set up dayparting for your ad groups and decide if you want Apple to match relevant search queries (think keyword variants).


App Store Search Ads also support the following custom targeting options:

  • Device (currently only iPhone and iPad are supported)
  • Keywords
  • Audience
  • Ad schedule


In addition, Apple is eager to share analytical insights and performance with their own Attribution API. However, it does require some additional coding into your app in order to function.

challenge accepted

Finally, we’ll leave you with a few key points that users should be aware of when deciding to test App Store Search Ads:

  1. Ads will be served based on both bid and relevance (which the App Store will predict, and adjust according to customer behavior and response). Thus, advertisers are encouraged to create app titles, descriptions, and metadata that utilize relevant keywords and will connect strongly with the targeted audience.
  2. App Store Search Ads will be clearly marked with an “Ad” label and a light blue background surrounding the text and imagery. Only one ad will be shown per search query.
  3. Apple will not integrate data from other Apple apps when determining what ads to show, and will only provide aggregate campaign data to advertisers. Underage searchers are protected, and ads will not be shown to Apple IDs that are Managed or associated with a user younger than 13 years of age.
  4. There is no minimum spend limit or required contract period for Search Ads. However, developers can get $100 in free credit when signing up before December 31, 2016.

You can read more about Apple’s Advertising Policies here. As always, we invite you to share your insights and comments with us on Twitter! Happy Advertising, friends!

Cover image by Anik Shrestha.