Apple Search Ads in 2023: Best Practices, Automation Solutions, and Success Stories

In the ever-evolving app marketing landscape, one paid channel has consistently proven its worth in reaching the vast expanse of potential users and as a result growing business revenue, and it’s Apple Search Ads. It’s the talk between all UA Managers for years, as when you’re looking for a high-intent audience, that’s the place to find and target them at the right moment. In this digital age, mastering Apple Search Ads has become an art, and staying ahead of the curve is imperative for success. 

To shed light on the latest strategies, best practices, and cutting-edge techniques for leveraging Apple Search Ads, we hosted a webinar in collaboration with industry leaders Adjust and Tilting Point. In this article, we’ll delve into the invaluable insights and success stories that the experts shared. These revelations will undoubtedly help you shape the way you approach your ad campaigns.

Apple Search Ads in 2023: Best Practices, Automation Solutions, and Success Stories

Want to get up-to-date insights on all key metrics for Apple Search Ads search results and Search tab campaigns? Check the SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Benchmark Dashboard—an interactive report designed to provide you with the latest insights into TTR, CVR, CPM, CPT, and CPA. This tool empowers you to compare your campaign results against industry benchmarks, simplify market analysis, and ensure strong campaign performance. It also offers detailed breakdowns by categories and markets to gain a granular understanding of how your campaigns are performing across different segments. 

Check the dashboard to optimize your Apple Search Ads campaigns at ease

Our experts

  • Ben Bowen, Partnerships Manager at Adjust. Ben is the US-based Partnerships Manager, responsible for overseeing product and commercial based strategic partnerships. With extensive experience in programmatic advertising and mobile measurement, he brings a wealth of expertise to the field of mobile marketing.
  • Darya Radchykava, Account Executive, SplitMetrics. She is a Mobile Growth Enthuthiast with a proven track record  of driving user acquisition and engagement for apps. With 3+ years of experience in the mobile marketing industry, Darya has developed a deep understanding of the factors that contribute to the success of mobile apps.
  • Yi Gong, Growth Marketing Sr. Director, Tilting Point. Yi Gong is the Sr. Director of Growth Marketing at Tilting Point, a mobile gaming company. She oversees the growth of the gaming portfolio, including user acquisition, ad monetization and ASO.
  • Host: Lina Danilchik, Marketing & Communications Lead, SplitMetrics. Lina is a Marketing & Communications Lead with 10+ years of digital marketing experience within B2B SaaS solutions. She provides mobile marketers with valuable insights and best practices on app growth, ASO, user acquisition and Apple Search Ads.

Topics we covered

  • Apple Search Ads multiplacement ad strategies.
  • New ad placements: tips, success stories.
  • Custom product pages: to test or not to test.
  • Brand and non-branded keywords: key tips & best practices.
  • Apple Search Ads automation and measurement: innovative solutions.
  • And lots of real-life success stories.

You asked we answer

  1. What’s the difference in performance between old format Today tab ads and new format?

The initial observation that caught everyone’s attention is that now the approval process has become easier, which consequently leaves more time for testing.

The other observation made by the SplitMetrics Team is that with the new Today tab format the number of impressions increased, as well as the number of installs. What’s important to note here is that the results could vary, and in some cases the TTR can fluctuate. Therefore, our proposed solution is straightforward: go and test it!

  1. We’re planning to launch an app soon, do you have any tips to have a loud release and have lots of installs?

Apple Search Ads presents a great avenue to grow your app. It suits developers of all sizes and can help them grow apps at every stage of their lifecycle. Given the substantial costs of mobile app development, having a strong launch day might help to ensure its success from day one. Read a case study of Livintis, a prominent mobile app developer in the photo and video category, and learn how SplitMetrics Agency experts were able to boost installs on the new app’s release day using pre-order campaigns.

Also, to understand which app verticals and regions have the highest potential for growth, check the newest Adjust’s Mobile App Growth Report

  1. Can you please share some tips on how I can boost underperforming keywords?

One crucial tip is to reassess the relevance of your keywords for your app. Given the ever-changing landscape of keyword trends, what was relevant in the past may no longer be that one. 

If the answer is yes, recommendation is to consider increasing your bid, as this indicates that your current bid may not be competitive enough. Higher the bids are the more chances you have that your ad will be displaced. 

However, if this move means increasing your target KPIs, it’s advisable to explore similar keywords or, ideally, monitor your competitors to identify any overlooked opportunities. In response to this need, SplitMetrics Acquire has recently introduced Keyword Gap feature, which offers UA managers and mobile growth professionals a fresh perspective on optimizing their Apple Search Ads campaigns and ad groups. Additionally, this feature is enriched with user-friendly bubble charts that highlight three categories of keywords: those unique that you’re using for your app, those shared with competitors, and those that can be adopted from competitors. 

  1. I have experience in running Google and Microsoft Ads. When I will try Apple Search Ads, where should I start and is there any quick reference on how to do this?

Being an Apple Search Ads partner, for SplitMetrics it means providing you with all the necessary educational materials to unlock this channel’s full potential. And we have quite a bunch of them to answer all your questions:

  • Apple Search Ads Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Launching Your First Search Results Campaign –  discover what Apple Search Ads is and how to launch your very first search results campaign. 
  1. We’ve just launched a new game and started using Apple Search Ads, what’re the most important KPIs to focus on?

Monitoring campaign performance is the most important task for all mobile gaming marketers, and a proper results analysis is essential for creating an ad that captures the attention of the target players. However, navigating through the multitude of KPIs to monitor can be confusing.

During the App Growth Panel, Yi from Tilting Point shared that during the first month after launching an gaming app, their team primarily focuses on CPI and ROAS. They’re also planning to employ multiple ad placements, including search results campaigns and Today tab ads, to maximize visibility and downloads. After that, in a few months of monitoring and analyzing keyword performance, it’ll become apparent which are the best-performing ones and you can start testing custom product pages.

Here, we receive lots of questions on what custom product pages should be considered to be ‘good’ ones. The answer is: higher TTR,  an increase in impressions volume, an increase in downloads volume, an increase in SOV (share of voice), a decrease in CPT/CPA.

  1. Are discovery campaigns really worth the effort?

Absolutely! Especially, given the fact that users are constantly inventing new ways to search for a new app on the App Store, and new words and phrases emerge every day. Users may even use slang and industry-specific jargon while looking for your app. To effectively adapt to this evolving landscape, discovery campaigns are the best way to identify new keywords to start bidding on. What’s more, is that they can be optimized towards KPI like other campaigns. The truth is that keywords trends can change from time to time, meaning that previously effective keywords can rapidly become budget-draining choices. 

And our SplitMetrics Acquire has a special place here, as one of the key product features is designed to simplify the keyword discovery process. It’s called Keyword Planner, and it helps identify new and relevant keywords. Additionally, it also provides valuable Apple Search Ads recommendations for the app and its top competitors by paid traffic. What SplitMetrics Acquire also offers is 200+ automation rules templates,, a number of which are dedicated to analyzing keyword performance. These algorithms intelligently adjust bids based on KPI performance, reducing bids for underperforming keywords and elevating bids for those that prove to be more profitable.

  1. How do you recommend grouping match types? Is it better to have them in separate campaigns?

In the context of Apple Search Ads, every successful campaign starts with a thought-over structure. Yes, we recommend creating separate ad groups with different keyword match types. Get the Apple Search Ads Performance Checklist to conduct a thorough account audit, improve ad group settings for effective audience targeting, and find smart ways to increase the key performance metrics, including Tap-Through Rate, Conversion Rate, and Install Rate.

Share this article
Victoria Vlasova
Victoria Vlasova
Marketing Manager
With extensive experience in digital marketing, Victoria is a Marketing Manager at SplitMetrics. She is keen on creating content to bring B2B tech solutions and relevant audiences together.
Read all articles
Unlock New Levels of Mobile Growth
Take your user acquisition to the next level. Consult with SplitMetrics experts
Let’s Talk
Share this article