Step Up Your Apple Search Ads Performance

By Rachel Poulos | Senior Account Manager at Hanapin Marketing

Since the Apple store launched in 2008, it’s grown to house 2.2 million apps in 2016 and receives more than 500 million unique customers per week. So how can you make sure you standout from the crowd? Below are 4 optimizations that have helped several accounts increase their installs and efficiently increase volume.

 

1. Play around with your cost per tap bids

 

One of the accounts I work with kept their CPT bids at the same amount since their launch. However, when search volume spiked during their seasonality, our max bids weren’t cutting it. Our traffic volume and installs were suffering. With the help of our Apple representatives, we tested a +500% CPT increase on our brand and non-brand campaigns. Since Apple ads is based on a second tiered pricing model, we didn’t pay more than past CPC’s averages.

 

2. Test different CPA goals

 

In another account, the CPA goal was raised by more than 100%, resulting in immediate volume and installs increase while still hitting under the client CPA target. It becomes apparent our previous CPA goal was limiting us prior to seasonality, but we weren’t aware by how much. One of the cons of the Apple Ad interface is limited insights into the search auction. Without metrics like impression share, we weren’t able to see how much impression share we were losing due to budget or bids. This is why it’s important to test out different CPA goals to make sure you aren’t restricting your volume.

 

CPA goal cap under ad group settings

 

3. Test geo targeted campaigns

 

Do you know which states or cities perform well for your app? If so, consider grouping these GEO’s into a separate campaign. We tested this in one of our accounts. We kept keywords, CPT bids and CPA goals the same in two campaigns, except they were different in which states they targeted. We found the GEO specific campaign received +200% more installs and had a CPA 24% lower than the non GEO specific campaign.

 

Locations targets under ad group settings

 

4. Try out ad scheduling

 

Unlike AdWords and Facebook, Apple ads does not have an ad delivery setting. This means you could spend your entire daily budget early in the day and miss potential installs later in the day. We’ve seen great success with ad scheduling to maximize installs with lower budgets. I would recommend conducting several tests with 6 hour increments. I would also test any times you’ve seen in AdWords that have performed well.

 

Ad scheduling options under ad group settings

 

EXTRA. Test “Have downloaded my app” audience

 

According to a Localytics, about 23% of users abandoned an app after one use in 2016. With more than 2.2 million apps in the app store, its important to stay in visible to your users. By creating a separate campaign targeting “have downloaded my app” audience, you can decide how much you are willing to pay to have users come back and re-engage with your app. Other than installs and CPA, retention rate is another important metric you need to pay attention to, in order to ensure success for your app.

 

Audience target under ad group settings

 

These 4 optimizations have helped several of our accounts improve in performance during their busiest times. Hopefully you’ve found them insightful and relevant to your campaigns. Let us know on Twitter if you implement any of these optimizations or have any questions.

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