Need more app installs? You need to be running Apple search ads. Learn from our mistakes over the last 18 months and find out why this platform should be in your marketing mix for app marketing.

Mobile apps. Getting a download is not enough. You have to work towards getting an install and then revenue from each install. If you are in a competitive industry and your app store optimization (ASO) is taking longer then you thought… mobile app marketing might be for you.

Apple launched search ads in 2016 in the United States. Since then it has grown to cover 13 countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the United States.

This past year Apple has also added install-based Search Ads to help advertisers who are looking for a streamlined experience. Even with all the changes, there are still some quirks to the platform.

Campaign Budgets

Once a campaign starts running. You can not lower the campaign budget. You can only increase, which is a pain if you made a mistake or realize you should spend less on a campaign. One reason we stress to clients to start out with a low budget and scale as you go.

Bulk Changes

Similar to Facebook, there is no offline editor for Apple search ads. You can access the API and make changes that way. However, if that’s above your skill set. You need to keep your campaigns simple and easy to manage. Adjust your CPT bid in bulk at the keyword level isn’t possible in the interface.

Match Type

You can not change your match type once you launch a campaign. Pretty much half the things you would want to change in the platform isn’t possible once you go live. Always triple check your work before going live.

You also can’t move keywords between campaigns. If you make a mistake, you will need to duplicate the ad group and adjust your budget and or match type before putting it live. This is a mistake I learned the hard way.

Duplicate Keywords

In Google or Bing, If you have a duplicate keyword in different campaigns, the ad platforms will pick which one has the best ad rank. In Apple’s case, they won’t let you save the second instance of that keyword. It’s a good idea to play out your campaigns and keywords to make sure you have the right structure in place.

Search Match

Search match takes your exact match keywords and turns them into broad, for all intents and purposes. Make sure this is unchecked when you are setting up your campaigns. Leaving it checked leaves your campaign open to search queries you may not want.

Bonus Tip

We found the system can be buggy in Firefox and other browsers. You should use Safari if you can. Keep track of your changes and what you did as there is no change history section in the platform. Lastly, some of the terminology in the ad account isn’t always what you think:

App Unit = Download

Install = Opens App

Beyond the above, if you take your search knowledge from Google and Bing and apply it to Apple Search Ads, you will be up and running in no time. It’s an undervalued platform that may overlook when trying to get mobile app installs. That is it for this week. See you next time.