Apple Ads is a great platform to target new users efficiently, however, their targeting is less than preferable to advertisers who rely on detailed custom targeting. With the upcoming Holiday season, where inevitably new phones will be purchased as gifts, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re taking advantage of creative testing in Apple Search Ads.

You’re probably reading this thinking “Wait, what? Creative testing Apple Search Ads?”

Yes, you heard that right. Earlier this year Apple Search Ads came out with Creative Sets. With Creative Sets, you can test different ad variations and tailor your ads to specific ad groups and demographics. Similar to Facebook, the Apple Search Ads algorithm will evaluate the ads that are running and, based on engagement, they will choose the to show the better performing ad.

Screenshot from Apple Search Ads


While it’s great we finally can tailor creative towards our ad groups, Creative Sets has its limitations.

  1. Creative sets are generated using images assets found in your App Store product page.
  2. The ability to choose the order of the images depends on the way the images were originally uploaded to the product page, from left to right.

    For example, if you have four image assets – ABCD – possible ad combinations would be: ABC, ABD, ACD, and BCE, but CBA would not be valid (Apple Search Ads).

  3. Your Creative Sets will always run against the default image and text ads that are automatically created by ASA; you are not able to pause the default ads.
  4. Reporting is limited to standard traffic data. You are not able to see demographic data or video performance.
  5. You are limited to 10 Creative Sets for each ad group. Fortunately, however, you can delete old creative sets.

So how do you set up Creative Sets?

  1. Make sure you have an Advanced Search Ads account. There is a difference between the Basic and Advanced accounts.
  2. Select the ad group you’d like to set up a Creative Set.
  3. Give your Creative Set a name that describes the test, as well as any additional information.
  4. Depending on your device targeting, you will be asked to select image assets for various display sizes.

And that’s it! Its super simple to set up and can provide a lift in conversions while providing creative insights.

Creative Sets Ideas

Because your creative testing capabilities are limited to the creative assets located in your App Store product page, it’s important to talk to your ASO team ahead of about the images that will be uploaded.

Below is a list of test that can be implemented using Creative Sets:

  • Testing branded vs app features: This works well if you have less brand awareness and need to push searchers to install your app.
  • Testing geographic targeting: If you have ad groups that target specific GEO’s, you could test images of those locations to make it more relevant for searchers in those areas.
  • New vs returning users: If you’ve updated your app with new features and would like to entice current users to re-engage with your app.
  • Product offerings: If you have an app that offers multiple services or products, aligning screenshots of these offerings to relevant keywords.
  • Demographic targeting: If you know who your audience, you can test assets that reflect your audience.
  • Video and landscape images: This ability depends on display sizes, however, using landscape assets can set you apart from other advertisers that are using 3-4 assets in their ads.

In closing, while Creative Sets have their limitations, they are a tool to add to your belt when looking to enhance performance. Creative Sets and their testing potential can make your app more relevant to potential users to help reach your goals efficiently.