10 Tip-Checklist for Flawless Apple Search Ads Holiday Campaign

We updated the last year guide to help you run even more effective Apple Search Ads seasonal campaigns.

At the end of the calendar year, people across the globe look forward to meeting family & friends, exchanging gifts or simply relaxing and having time for themselves. Simultaneously they start looking for apps to help them prepare for the holidays: buy presents, food and outfits, find a place for celebration or a cool mobile game to play. That’s why searches and downloads for Finance, Social Networking, Shopping, Photo & Video, Games, Entertainment, Travel and some other categories increase during the holiday season.

The good news is that mobile marketers can also prepare, reinforce their user acquisition strategy by optimizing Apple Search Ads campaigns, and get excellent results: increase impressions in search, drive more downloads and boost in-app revenue.

Now, as Halloween, Black Friday and other holidays are around the corner, we’ve prepared this checklist to help you make sure you haven’t overlooked even the smallest detail, seized the momentum and streamlined your paid UA strategy for the holiday season.

1. Run a Discovery campaign

Mine relevant keywords via a Discovery campaign.

Consider running a Discovery campaign during the holiday season because it helps to expand the audience and mine trending relevant keywords.

Within this campaign, we recommend to use Broad Match and Search Match to automatically match your ad to relevant search terms. For each storefront, you can create two ad groups:

• a Search Match ad group without keywords but with Search Match enabled;

• a Broad match ad group with top performing keywords added in broad match and Search Match turned off.

10 Tip-Checklist for Flawless Apple Search Ads Holiday Campaign

Note that Broad Match can be too broad. It covers such options, as plurals, misspellings, synonyms, related searches, and phrases that include that term, fully or partially. 

10 Tip-Checklist for Flawless Apple Search Ads Holiday Campaign

Broad Match works great with your top-performing and high-potential keywords and helps find similar words and phrases. We recommend you to avoid adding too many very similar broad match keywords to the Broach Match ad group.

Olga Gvozdeva, Growth Manager at SplitMetrics

Search Match is a perfect option for the seasonal campaigns, since you will be able to cover trending searches & new keywords related to holidays or events. Search Match automatically matches your ad to relevant search terms, which enables you to reach out to a wider audience at the right moment. Potential customers, looking for an app similar to yours, will see your ad on top of search results, and you’ll get a piece of this audience, beating competitors.

2. Add seasonal keywords

Add relevant keywords related to Halloween, Black Friday, Christmas or other holidays and seasonal events.

Don’t forget to update your list and add relevant seasonal keywords to specific ad groups. Such keywords can help you increase your coverage during the holiday marketing campaign, and attract new customers.

Tip: Consider creating a separate holiday-themed ad group.

There are a few options to help you find new season-specific keywords. You may use any of them, individually or all together:

  • Keyword Planner – inbuilt SplitMetrics Acquire tool;
  • Third-party tools for keyword research, such as AppTweak or App Radar;
  • Run a Discovery campaign using the above-mentioned Search Match and Broad Match ad groups.

We recommend adding keywords with a Search Popularity > 10.

Tip: To check the popularity of keywords you’re going to add, use Search Ads Keyword Popularity Checker — a free ASO tool, showing keywords’ Search Popularity and available traffic per keyword right in Apple Search Ads dashboard. 

10 Tip-Checklist for Flawless Apple Search Ads Holiday Campaign

3. Get more competitive (Review CPT bids)

Increase CPT bids to compete in the Apple Search Ads auction and acquire more users.

Holiday season is a time when mobile marketers work with bids more actively, drastically increase them, and the competition becomes even tougher. 

That’s why we recommend to be more proactive and review your “regular” CPT bids. 

If you take advantage of automated rules, like, for example, in SplitMetrics Acquire, you’re already on top and one step ahead of your rivals. What else can you do to boost downloads during the holiday season? Review and upgrade your rules to make them tailored to the specificity of seasonal campaigns.

In case you change bids once a week and increase them by 5%, try to use a more bold bid Increment (10% or even 20%) and Action frequency (once in 2-3 days) to respond to fluctuations effectively and promptly, and not miss out on opportunities.

If you haven’t discovered automation yet, you might want to take a closer look at automation platforms like SplitMetrics Acquire. Such a solution will enable you to manage CPT bids more effectively, optimize campaigns and stay ahead of the competition.

4. Review Apple Search Ads daily budgets

Increase Apple Search Ads daily budgets for best performing campaigns.

Keep an eye on the lifetime budget (if you use it) and daily budget of your campaigns. To be more competitive during the holiday season, increase your app’s visibility and maximize impressions, raise daily budgets for your well-performing campaigns. Thus, you will make sure that you don’t miss out on opportunities due to too low daily budgets and don’t lose traffic to your competitors.

Daily budget is the average amount you want to spend on your campaign each day over the course of a month. On days with opportunities to get more downloads, your spend may exceed your daily budget. But your monthly spend won’t be more than your daily budget times the average number of days in a calendar month which is calculated as 30.4 days.

Also, you can leverage SplitMetrics Acquire automated rules which increase daily budget if the campaign has a good performance or else, send you an alert informing you that spend is close to reaching daily budget.

5. Review impression share with Apple Search Ads Insights

Track the Share of Voice (SoV) for top performing keywords.

Track your share of voice to see how your bidding in Apple Search Ads affects your app position in search results during the holiday season. Consider checking the Share of Voice for your season-specific keywords.

With SplitMetrics Acquire Insights, you can track your share of voice to see how bid changes affect your app position in search results during the holiday season. What is more, with Apple Search Ads Insights, you can understand the status of your competitors’ holiday campaigns, and how much you could grow SoV for your app by increasing bids for the currently trending seasonal keywords.

10 Tip-Checklist for Flawless Apple Search Ads Holiday Campaign

With this tool, you’ll be able to gain competitive advantage and actionable insights, receive timely alerts and spot opportunities for scaling with well-performing keywords in your brand campaigns.

6. Re-engage with your customers

Try targeting different types of users, including returning ones.

Reengagement is overall a huge opportunity, with redownloads representing more than 40 percent of all App Store downloads. And it’s crucially important to take advantage of this opportunity before Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Many people look for apps to redownload at the end of the calendar year, since, as we discussed above, they’re getting ready for the holidays. So, if you’re working only with new users, during this high season, you can reconnect with past customers by adding a “Returning users” ad group or sticking to “All users” targeting. 

Tip: Try using Search tab ads for retargeting. This type of Apple Search Ads campaign is effective for attracting returning users who used to utilize your app or downloaded it in the past. 

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