Apple’s App Store Search Ads Paying Off for Publishers

Apple’s App Store Search Ads Paying Off for Publishers

In October 2016, Apple Inc. launched it’s highly anticipated App Store Search Ads product that started showing ads in the iOS App Store for U.S. users. Searching for popular terms like “news” or "games" delivers a banner advert for promoted apps in distinct light blue boxes above the search results.

While the App Store Search Ads have only been live for just a few months, they’re already a hit with some publishers and marketers who are looking to increase their mobile app audiences.


App Store Search Ads a Hit with Publishers



Apple App Search Ad from ESPN.

According to several publishers already using the new iOS App Store Search Ads, the ads are delivering more users for their apps at a cost that’s a fraction of other alternative user-acquisition strategies. The search ads are surpassing initial expectations of early adopters.

Roman Karachinsky, co-founder of News360, a personalized news-aggregation app, told Digiday:


“My initial reaction to that first test we ran was, ‘This {App Store Search Ads success} must be a temporary thing’. But it’s been a few months now, and out of all the channels we experimented with, search ads is up there {among the best performers}.”


John Fiedler, Fox News’s senior vice president of digital, while also acknowledging that the search ads are outperforming most other user-acquisition strategies, said that their strategy with the ads is all about getting their brand in front of people searching just for the term ‘news.’ “We already have this extremely well-known brand,” Fiedler noted. “We want to make sure we float up toward the top as much as we can.”


Publishers Float their iOS Apps Top of User Searches


One of the biggest challenges for many app publishers and developers on Apple’s App Store, and also on rival Google Play Store, has been floating your app toward the top of user searches. Getting to the top of app search results is a priority for many publishers because up to 80 percent of the apps on people’s smart phones were installed after a search on the App Store, according to mobile marketing firm Tune.

Fox News began experimenting with Apple’s search ads in December and has since climbed into the top five of news apps on the App Store, according to App Annie data. Similarly, the New York Times begun buying the search ads against politics and the election and has climbed into the top 10 for news apps in the United States, remaining there ever since as per App Annie.

Other publishers like Bloomberg and Quartz, whose apps are barely more than a few months old, are also experimenting with the search ads and reporting good results so far. However, some smaller, independent publishers worry that the search ads will only benefit the big companies with deep pockets, rather than users. Smaller indie publishers would much rather prefer to see better "organic" search results than paid ads.


How Apple’s App Store Search Ads Work


At a basic level, Apple’s new app search ads work fairly similarly to Google’s search engine advertising platform, AdWords. App publishers, developers pay for ads on a Cost per Tap model with no minimum spending limits in order to appear for desirable searches. Apple provides analytics tools to track engagement, manage ad content, adjust maximum daily limits, and more.

A major difference from most advertising experiences that publishers and marketers are familiar with, however, is that relevance seems to be more important to Apple than the amount you’re willing to bid. If people don’t find your app or ad appealing and don’t click on it, the iPhone maker will stop showing the ad, regardless of your bid. This is one way Apple is trying to maintain quality and relevance of experience.

“The combination of your app’s relevance to the search query and the amount of your bid will determine whether your ad will be the one shown,” writes apple on its official App Store Search Ads website.

See Also: 10 Best Apps and Software for Busy Writers.

Image Credit: Apple.

Alexis Davis is a senior staff writer at (WWS). She covers different topics for the publication, including business, health, and technology stories.