Apple Search Ads – The Golden Opportunity for App Advertisers in 2023, and Beyond!
Looking to scale your mobile growth? This guest post from MAAS Platform (powered by Affle) will lead you to the land of possibilities for gaining new mobile users through Apple Search Ads.
In the ever-evolving landscape of app advertising, staying ahead of the competition requires the ability to capture the attention of premium customers who offer high lifetime value (LTV). Enter Apple Search Ads (ASA), a potentially game-changing tool that allows app advertisers to target iOS users who are actively searching for new apps within the Apple ecosystem. With its vast user base and impressive spending habits, ASA presents a golden opportunity for app advertisers to maximize their user acquisition and propel their app growth in 2023 and beyond.
Why Apple Users & Apple Search Ads Matter for Advertisers
Apple Search Ads offers a range of benefits and unique selling points that make it a compelling choice for app advertisers.
Firstly, ASA provides direct access to a vast user base within the Apple ecosystem. Apple users are premium users, boasting a high lifetime value on account of their higher propensity to spend on apps and in-app purchases compared to users on other platforms. On average, iOS users spend 1.8 times as much as Android users, according to data from Business of Apps, with iOS being responsible for 67% of all consumer app spending in 2022. Such impressive figures showcase the willingness of Apple users to invest in premium, quality apps and are indicative of the potential revenues app advertisers stand to earn by targeting this affluent cohort.
With 500 million users (Source: Business of Apps) actively searching for apps on the App Store every week, ASA enables advertisers to connect with their target audiences precisely at the moments when they are looking for relevant apps, thereby maximizing conversions and installs. ASA presents a potentially game-changing opportunity for app advertisers by providing a direct pathway towards acquiring these premium users. According to reports, over 70% of App Store visitors use search to find apps, with ASA already proving its worth at the discovery stage by boasting an average conversion rate of 50% (tap-to-install).
Secondly, ASA enables advertisers to target users who are actively searching for apps on the App Store. Users who utilize the search feature on the App Store often do so with a specific app or need in mind. By pushing a relevant app to the top of search results, ASA allows advertisers to capture the attention of users at a critical moment of their journey, where they are evaluating and comparing various options. When users see an ad that is relevant to their search, they are more likely to engage with it and explore the app further. The App Store also offers several placement options in the form of the Today Tab, Search Page, Product Page and Search Results page, that can be leveraged by advertisers to maximize reach and impact. Such placement options make the App Store a curated destination for users to discover new apps and for advertisers to showcase their own apps. This ad placement effectively cuts through the noise and competition, ensuring that the advertiser’s app receives the visibility it deserves.
By targeting relevant keywords and bidding on the right ad placements, advertisers can efficiently align their ads with user intent to drive higher conversion rates and quality installs.
Changes to the Apple Ecosystem and the Need for ASA
It's essential to consider the changes happening within the Apple ecosystem and their impact on ASA. In recent years, Apple has implemented significant changes, such as the introduction of App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, which made the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) opt-out by default. These changes have altered the way advertisers can track and target users, posing challenges to app advertising strategies.
However, ASA remains a strong contender within the Apple ecosystem due to its unique position within the walled garden. Unlike other advertising platforms, ASA operates directly within the App Store, where users actively search for apps. Advertisers can still reach their target audience effectively without relying heavily on user tracking or personal identifiers.
Apple Search Ads: In-house vs External
Businesses with apps can choose to approach Apple Search Ads in two different ways: either it can be managed in-house or with an ad partner who has experience managing campaigns and reporting. While managing ASA campaigns in-house provides advertisers with direct control and ownership over their advertising efforts, it can be limiting in the level of reporting, manpower, technology, and scale.
Working with an experienced ASA ad partner can offer several benefits. Ad partners with a proven track record and expertise in managing ASA campaigns across different markets and verticals bring valuable insights and industry knowledge to the table. They have the advantage of leveraging advanced AI-driven technologies and tools to optimize campaign performance. With this route, advertisers also get a deep understanding of keyword recommendations, bidding strategies, and a full-funnel view of the campaigns and additional reporting insights from the MMPs. Going beyond in-house ASA by aligning with a trusted and experienced ASA partner can help to guide, scale, and automate your campaigns. You can also get the most out of your ASA efforts by mapping key downstream events around registrations, orders or transactions. As an advertiser, you can also gain deeper insights into differing Tap Through Rates (TTRs) across verticals such as travel, fintech and gaming, in order to optimally allocate your ad spends.
Often in peak marketing moments, such as holidays, travel, and shopping seasons, when the competition is higher, advertisers can struggle with the scale of the campaign. Here, an experienced ad partner can also provide valuable support in scaling the ASA efforts.
They have the infrastructure and resources to handle increased campaign volumes and deliver consistent results. Using the experience of running other campaigns, ad partners can also leverage this experience to help advertisers nurture high-paying LTV users and make informed decisions for long-term success.
Finally, partnering with an ASA ad partner can save advertisers time and effort by outsourcing campaign management and optimization. It allows advertisers to focus on their core business objectives while benefiting from the expertise of professionals who specialize in ASA.
Ultimately, the decision between managing ASA campaigns in-house or partnering with an ad partner depends on the specific needs, resources, and goals of each advertiser. Advertisers should carefully evaluate their capabilities and objectives to determine the most suitable approach for their ASA investment.
As Apple continues to innovate and enhance its ecosystem, ASA is likely to evolve alongside it. In fact, beginning July 2023, Apple has announced that the Today tab ads on its App Store will appear in a new format that is fully visible when visitors first arrive on the page, eliminating the need for scrolling to see the entire ad. This is likely to give greater visibility to ASA efforts for advertisers. Additional changes on a streamlined approval process also will help advertisers swiftly set up their campaigns on the Today tab.
The future of Apple Search Ads within the current advertising ecosystem looks promising. ASA's unique position within the Apple ecosystem, its privacy-conscious approach, and its precise targeting capabilities position it as a powerful tool for app advertisers looking to reach and engage with iOS users effectively.
About the author: Diksha Sahni currently leads Communications & PR at Affle. With a passion for content marketing, she also takes the lead in crafting compelling narratives for the MAAS Platform. A journalist turned marketer, she has worked in the B2B and AdTech industries and writes on all things mobile on the MAAS Platform blog.