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How to Streamline ASO Efforts with Apple Search Ads Pre-Order Campaigns 

Apple Search Ads allows running ads for those apps that are not yet live on the App Store. In order to set up this kind of campaign, the app together with metadata should be first submitted for review in App Store Connect. Visually, ads for this type of apps will look no different than those once that are already live on the App Store. Users will see the icon, title, subtitle, screenshots as well as the get button. The only difference is that there is a pre-order plate next to the get button and there are no downloads in reports until the app is released.

Purposes of running Apple Search Ads for pre-order apps 

  • Implementation of a pre-launch marketing strategy aimed at creating brand awareness around the app, securing a high number of users from day one after the release or for the beta-test;
  • support in testing various ASO strategies;
  • boosting installs for specific keywords;
  • testing users’ response to different keyword semantics and screenshots, which enables  mobile developers to adjust the launch strategy before the global release.

Peculiarities of Apple Search Ads pre-order campaigns

Since there are no Downloads data in Apple Search Ads reports (as at the pre-order stage it’s impossible to download the app), nor can we see on the SplitMetrics Acquire dashboard how many users pre-ordered the app, this kind of information can only be obtained from pre-order reports in App Store Connect. Thus, for this type of campaigns only the following metrics are available: Spend, Impressions, Taps, TTR, avg. CPT, avg. CPM.

How to Streamline ASO Efforts with Apple Search Ads Pre-Order Campaigns 

Please note that in case of a pre-order you might face a drastic change of CPT before and after the release. In the example below we see that during the pre-order campaign for an app, CPT was quite high and was close to CPA according to the benchmarks. However, after the release (July 18) CPT dropped significantly and equaled the CPT benchmark for this app category.

How to Streamline ASO Efforts with Apple Search Ads Pre-Order Campaigns 

Based on this example, we can conclude that Apple Search Ads pre-order campaigns help to accumulate users and boost installs on the release day. This, in turn, improves ranking for specific keywords and allows making it to the top for the ones with high competition.

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How SplitMetrics Agency Helped Livintis Boost ASO at the Pre-Launch Stage with Apple Search Ads Pre-Order Campaigns


Livintis, a prominent mobile app developer in the photo & video category, addressed SplitMetrics Agency experts with a request to boost installs on the new app’s release day.


To achieve the goal, SplitMetrics Agency used Apple Search Ads pre-order campaigns. Since Apple Search Ads campaigns for pre-order have the same settings, as regular campaigns, the experts chose the following configuration for the app:

  • Search results as an ad placement
  • The US as the market.

SplitMetrics identified about 400 keywords that covered generic search queries, competitors’ titles and related keywords. All the keywords were distributed between ad campaigns and ad groups in a way that allowed configuring correct reporting according to the campaign objectives. Bids were chosen based on the category benchmarks.

Check our Apple Search Ads Benchmarks Report


Apple Search Ads pre-order campaign helped to accumulate users, which resulted in an install boost on the app’s release day. During the pre-order campaign, the app collected 1882 users and on the release day the app was automatically downloaded to their devices. 

Moreover, the Apple Search Ads pre-order campaign also positively affected the ranking of some keywords, as extra traffic helped the app to rank higher for these keywords. The install boost resulted in a CR increase and eventually the target keyword reached Top 1, helping the Client to outrank main competitors. Consequently, such high ranking naturally affected the organic traffic in the most positive way.

How to Streamline ASO Efforts with Apple Search Ads Pre-Order Campaigns 
How to Streamline ASO Efforts with Apple Search Ads Pre-Order Campaigns 

By taking advantage of Apple Search Ads campaign for the pre-order app, SplitMetrics experts managed to reach the Top 1 position for a high volume and competitive keyword. This led to the boost of installs for the Client’s app.

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