Brand New UA Opportunity: Ads on App Store Search Tab

Last week Apple Search Ads shared exciting news: a new ad placement is now available on the App Store Search tab.

According to Apple Search Ads statistics, over 500M people visit the App Store each week. 70% of them use search to find and download apps. Now, once a user opens the Search tab, promoted apps appear at the top of Suggested list.

Here are all the details you need to know to get ahead with this UA opportunity. First test results from our client and recommendations from experts included.

New Apple Search tab ads
New Apple Store Search tab ads

Who can create a Search tab campaign?

Search tab campaigns are only available as part of Apple Search Ads Advanced.

Assets that are already uploaded to the App Store product page are used to create a Search tab campaign. It features the app name, icon, and subtitle. (Creative Sets are not available due to this type of ad.) There is also no need to set up keywords.

Troubleshooting: for ads to be shown on the Search tab, the promoted app must be available for purchase or install on the App Store, and Apple Search Ads must be available in that country or region.

What about campaign budgets?

Ad pricing is based on a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model. According to Apple Search Ads, the actual cost is a result of a second price auction. The cost is based on what the next closest bidder is willing to pay. This approach eliminates the risks of overpaying, while getting a placement for a competitive price.

Note: an impression is counted each time at least 50 percent of the ad is visible for one second.

Budgets and time periods for Search tab campaigns are managed the same way as any other promotion via Apple Search Ads Advanced.

  • There is no minimum spend.
  • Control over the maximum campaign budget. Once a budget is set, the campaign runs until the budget is depleted, the end date is reached, or a campaign is paused.
  • Maximum CPM bid is adjustable at the ad group level, with suggested bid range and bid strength recommendations included. It can also be adjusted at any time.
  • Optional daily spend cap allows for even distribution of campaign budgets over desired period of time. However, just like with any other campaign, daily cap is not a 100% guarantee and your campaign may occasionally spend more, as stated by Apple Search Ads.

Is advanced targeting possible?

Similar to other campaigns, it is possible to target specific audiences by device type, customer type, demographics, and location. For time-sensitive marketing activities or seasonal promotions, campaign can be scheduled for specific dates, times, and days of the week.

Does SearchAdsHQ support Search tab campaigns?

SearchAdsHQ already supports Apple Search tab campaigns: you can manage campaigns and their statistics via SearchAdsHQ toolset. In-app events from a mobile measurement partner (MMP) are also tracked for users that allowed tracking in the app tracking transparency prompt.

Apple Search Ads
Apple Search Ads

App Store Search tab ads: First Results

‎One of our clients already tested this new promotion opportunity from Apple Search Ads, and is ready to share real data from running a Search tab campaign for a puzzle game app.

  • Impressions: 2852
  • Taps: 36
  • TTR (Tap-Through Rate): 1.26%
  • CPT (Cost per Tap): 0.56
  • Installs: 12
  • CR (Conversion Rate): 33%
  • CPA (Cost per Action): 1.67
  • CPM (Cost per Thousand Impressions): $7

As our in-house experts commented, the TTR and CR tests results are within the average range for this category. Here are more insights into the potential of this promotion slot, as well as hands-on recommendations for new App Store Search tab ads.

Experts’ Recommendations for Search tab ads

The new ASA placement is finally live for all. Definitely interesting to test and see! It makes sense for Apple to try to expand its ads inventory, as many advertisers are happy about their performance but can’t scale as much as they would like.

There’s going to be various things to figure out on how to use this new placement best. For now, there are quite limited levers marketers have to optimize besides CPM level, and demographic targeting. Let’s see how the product and its adoption evolve over time to confirm.

Thomas Petit, mobile marketing expert and independent app growth consultant

We are facing uncharted waters here, but the first test result for ads on App Store Search tab look quite promising. You just need to have a clear vision of what your marketing goals are, and whether Search tab ads are the right tool for them.

The main concern for the moment is that basic metrics could be lower compared to that of a search results ads. If the current goal is scaling your user acquisition quickly, it would be wiser to stick to search results campaigns. If set properly, it has proved itself to work great for app growth.

If the mark you want to hit is extending your marketing reach, outpacing your competitors and increasing brand awareness, App Store Search tab ads are definitely worth trying out. 

Eugene Ilnytskyi, Head of SplitMetrics Agency