Introducing Search Ads 

Session 302 WWDC 2016

Search Ads provides a new way to increase awareness of your apps in App Store search results. Learn how sponsored ads in App Store search work, see a preview of the powerful targeting options, reporting and attribution features and how quick and easy it is to get started.

[ Music ]

Hello and welcome.

I’m Lindsay Verity, and I’ll be joined by my colleagues Casey Fictum and Eric Hall.

We’re here to introduce a new way to help people discover your apps in the App Store.

If you’ve developed an app for iOS, you know how much time, effort and passion goes into creating the playful, useful, and wonderful apps that people love.

Just like this year’s Apple Design Award winners.

You also know that putting effort into putting awareness and discoverability of your app is just as crucial to its success.

And that’s what we’re here to talk to you about today.

But before we do that, let’s review all the ways a user can currently discover your app in the App Store.

There’s featured app collections curated by our editors that showcase the best apps based on themes, interests, and seasonal or cultural events.

Categories where users can browse and explore apps on a deeper level.

Top Charts, which list the App Store’s bestselling or most downloaded apps and games organized by paid, free, and top-grossing.

And whilst editorial features are an amazing way to get a quick burst of awareness in download activity by users with over a million and a half apps in the U.S. App Store, the most sustained source of downloads for your app as if it shows up for relevant search results.

Now the best way to improve discoverability and the likelihood a user will tap on your listing in App Store Search, is to optimize the metadata for your product page.

And show your app name, imagery, description, and keywords are highly relevant and appealing.

This should be the prime focus of your efforts to support your app’s discoverability and downloads.

Last week, we announced Search Ads, a powerful new way for you to control the visibility of your app in App Store search results.

Search Ads can help develop and drive new downloads and increase usage for your apps.

Almost two-thirds of all app downloads come directly from searches on the App Store.

The App Store is the place where people can proactively look for an app to download, so there’s no better place to invest in the promotion of your app.

When a user searches in the App Store, a single sponsored ad may appear at the top of the search results.

The sponsored listing will have a blue background and ad icon next to the developer name.

The app may be in one of the formats you see here, optimized to what we learn works best for that search query and user.

Because user experience is so important to us, relevance is the main factor determining whether your ad will be showed for search query.

If your app is not relevant to what the user is looking for, it will not appear in the ad spot regardless of how much you may be willing to pay.

Let me give you an example.

You have a pizza delivery app and you bid on gaming searches because you think those hard-core gamers will get too engrossed to actually go out for pizza.

Well, your app most likely will not make it into the auction for those searches because it is not a gaming app.

Now relevance will be determined in some parts from the content of your App Store metadata.

So as I mentioned earlier, investing your time in thoughtfully crafting your app title, description, and metadata with the most relevant keywords will not only improve your organic presence, it will also improve your relevance for sponsored ads as well.

We also take users’ response to specific ads as a signal for its relevance.

If users don’t respond to an ad, we’ll stop showing it to them.

Pricing is a Cost Per Tap model.

So you only pay when a user engages with your ad, and you decide the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a tap.

The actual cost of that tap is a result of a Second Price Auction, meaning the price you pay is based on what your nearest competitor is willing to pay to show their ad up to your maximum bid.

This means you’ll never pay more than you’re willing to spend or more than you need to.

And whether your ad will be shown is the combination of your app’s relevance to the search query and the amount of your bid comparative to others bidding on that same query.

And as I said earlier, apps that aren’t relevant won’t be entered into the auction.

With App Store Search being the single most important source of app downloads, our goal in designing Search Ads was to give all developers the opportunity to reach more customers through greater control of your presence in relevant search results.

Whether you have a large budget or small, have marketing expertise or none at all.

I now invite Casey to tell you more about the features we’ve designed into the product to do just that.

We’ve worked hard to make Search Ad the great product for all developers.

But we really thought a lot about how to make the experience for smaller developers as efficient and as simple as possible.

So that way you can get back to doing what you love to do, which is creating great apps.

Search Ads was designed to be smart and flexible so that you can get your ads up and running in a matter of minutes.

And there are only a few things that you need to tell us before you can get a campaign to go live.

And that is, your app, your budget, and your payment information.

And that’s it.

So let’s talk about how this works.

You tell us the app that you want to promote, and Search Ads will automatically create an ad for you using the metadata and imagery that you’ve already provided in your App Store listing.

So there’s actually nothing for you to do here except make sure that your App Store information is the best representation of your app.

Now because we know so much about your app and a genre, we can then take that ad and match it to relevant queries that are coming through in the app store.

We do this with our default on search match feature, and we absolutely love this feature.

We really think that you will too.

Next you’ll define your budget.

Your budget can include a daily spend cap.

You’ll also tell us the maximum amount that you’re willing to pay for a tap on your ad.

Eric will talk about how to best set your Max Cost per Tap later on in the presentation.

Finally, you add your payment information.

We support all of the currencies that you see listed here and except all major credit cards.

And that’s it.

Your ad is now eligible to be up and running in App Store Search results.

That’s pretty simple.

Now we realize there are some of you with more time or experience when it comes to search marketing, and you may want more control over your campaigns.

Now whether that be choosing the particular keywords that you want your ad to show against, setting individual bits for those keywords, or just telling us more about a particular audience that you’re trying to reach with your ad.

Well, you can do all that.

Let’s talk about keywords first.

Now because we know so much about your app in a genre, we can provide a list of keyword recommendations to you so that you don’t have to think about all of the possibilities.

Furthermore, you can add keyword ideas of your own, and we’ll give you a list of keywords related to that input.

For all of our keywords, we offer what we call a relative search term popularity index.

And this just give you a good idea of how important a particular keyword may be for your app but also the relative volume that it could drive.

We have two match types for keywords.

There’s Broad match, which will match you to that keyword as well as its relative variance like synonyms and phrases that include that keyword.

And then there’s Exact match which will target that specific phrase as well as its close variance like common misspellings and plurals.

If you want to learn more about match types, you should come talk to us in our lab session tomorrow morning, and we’ll tell you all about how these work in our product.

Now you can keep things simple here.

And you could set a default bid across all of your keywords, or you can apply individual bids at the keyword level and that would be if you want to further optimize that keyword based on things like its popularity or just how important that keyword is for your app.

There are also additional targeting options available to you if appropriate for your app and goals.

Now our default setting is to not show your ad to users that have already downloaded your app.

That way your budget can focus on acquiring new downloads.

However, if your campaign goals are different, you can target existing users as well as users of your other app.

If you want to further refine your audience, we do allow you to target by things like gender, age, and device location.

So a very simple way to use this feature would be let’s say that you have an app that only services certain cities.

Well, you could target by device location and that way you wouldn’t be wasting budget in cities that your app doesn’t service.

Or perhaps there’s an age and gender group that you know is your most valuable customer.

Let’s say males, ages 18 to 34.

Well, you could create a discreet ad group that would allow you to closely manage the exposure and bids, then, for that audience.

Now we obviously want you to understand your return on investment in Search Ads.

But we want that to be a very clean and easy process for you.

So we designed an intuitive campaign management and reporting UI that will allow you to get a quick overview of what’s happening, as well as easily drill down into the details and management if needed.

Now the best place to get a high-level overview of performance is on the campaign overview page, which you see here.

And this is where we’ve trended your most important metrics in one very easy to digest page.

From here, you could hop into the Keywords tab.

And you’ll see we’ve made it easy for you to optimize those keywords because we’ve placed their key metrics in the exact same place that you manage them.

If you have bulk sets of new keywords or negatives, which would be the keywords you don’t want your ad to show against, you can upload those here via spreadsheet as well.

Then there’s the Search Terms tab.

And this is a very powerful tab.

You could learn the actual user search terms that have led to an impression, tap, or download for your ad.

So all the search queries that your ad’s been matched to are shown here.

So anything from that Search Match feature that I talked about earlier will be shown in this list.

And you’d also see search queries that resulted from your own Broad match keywords.

So really it’s just a great place to discover new keywords.

Now these management screens are ideal for taking actions with performance context and view.

But we’ve also built a powerful reporting section that allows you to parse your campaigns, ad groups and keywords by things like demo, location, device, and more.

You can download all of this data to spreadsheets, and we also offer APIs for reporting, campaign creation, and management.

Once you’ve acquired a customer, we offer a robust attribution API to give you advance insights, including the ability to understand the keywords that are delivering the most valuable customers to you.

That way you can use that information to optimize your bidding strategies accordingly.

And now I’d like to invite Eric to show you just how effortless it is to create and optimize a Search Ads campaign in our simple, yet powerful UI.

I’m going to share with you how to set up and manage a successful search campaign in the App Store.

First, I search for my app that I want to promote.

My app is LightRight, a new camera app that specializes in unique filters that aren’t available anywhere else.

Search Ads has found my app and pulled in all my metadata, which it will use to make my campaign setup quick and easy.

Straight away I can see it has automatically created my ad for me, and I can see a sample here.

The first thing I need to do is name my campaign and put in my budget.

My budget is $3,000.

I also have the option to set a maximum daily spend.

I want to pace out my budget to last for the quarter, so I’ll set it to $50.

Now I need to create an ad group.

So I can organize my bids and any keywords or audience targeting I want to add.

I’m going to call mine LightRight Launch Group.

Because Search Ads knows my app is a universal app, it has defaulted my ads to show for searches on both the iPad and the iPhone.

I have the option to choose just iPhone or iPad, but I want to reach as many people as possible, so I’ll leave it as is.

If appropriate, I can also schedule my ad to start and stop on specific dates.

The default setting is to start today with no end date.

I can also choose to have my ad show only on certain days of the week or times of the day.

But for my LightRight App, I’d like to be on the same schedule as the App Store, 24/7.

Importantly, I need to set my default max Cost Per Tap bid.

To work out how I should set that for my campaign, I take what I know an average customer is worth to me and decide how much I can afford to spend on acquiring each new customer.

I can afford to spend about $2.50 per customer.

Given that searchers in the App Store are high-intent downloaders, I’m going to assume on average that 40 percent of the people who tap on my ad will actually download my app.

Doing the math, that means I can afford to pay 40 percent of $2.50 per tap or $1.

So I’ll set my starting default max CPT bid to $1.

I have the option to set a target cost per acquisition goal.

Search Ads will use this as a guide to work towards, but it’s not a guarantee.

If I set it too low, I could be forgoing taps that may lead to downloads.

For now, I’m not going to set one until I have some learnings from my campaign.

Now I’m moving into defining how my ads will get seen.

Search Match is on by default, and I’m going to leave it on because as Casey mentioned, Search Match will automatically match my ad to relevant user searches.

If I want to keep things simple, I can just rely on Search Match to do all of the work for me.

Because as I have time and some previous experience with search campaigns, I’m going to see what keywords are being recommended to me.

All of these look good, so I’m going to go ahead and add them.

I can also see that some of the recommendations such as picture editor look very popular.

I’ll want to keep a close eye on that one.

I also have a few keywords that I’d like to add to my list.

As Casey mentioned, when I use brackets, then it’s considered an exact match and the rest of the words are broad match.

So LightRight is an exact match and color change in light conditions are broad match.

I have the option to change the bids if I want.

But I plan to leave them as-is for now.

Advanced targeting offers me several options to refine the audience for my ad if appropriate for my particular app.

The first default setting is to show my ad only to users who have not downloaded my app.

Other options, such as reengaging my existing users are also open to me.

But in my case, LightRight is a new app, and I’m really focused on acquiring new users.

So I’ll go with the default setting.

If appropriate, I could also target my ads to show to a specific gender or age.

For example, if your app is a young women’s fashion app, then you may target female ages between 18 and 34.

But for my LightRight app all ages and genders would be excited to use my low-light filters, so I’ll skip the demographic targeting.

Device location can be a useful targeting option if your app only serves a specific geographical area.

For example, a food delivery app that only serves the area around San Francisco might want to use this feature.

Now that I’ve set up my initial campaign, let’s fast forward into the future and see my campaign trends.

My average cost per tap at 86 cents is below my $1 max.

And my average cost per acquisition is $2.34, below my $2.50 target.

My average conversion rate is on track at 40 percent.

At a high level, these metrics look good.

But I notice my impressions, taps, and conversions have flattened and are starting to trend downward.

Given that my CPT and CPA are below my expected values, there may be opportunity for me to win more impressions.

Let’s drill down into the search term view to see what’s happening.

To get there, I click on the Keyword tab and then on Search Term.

The Search Term view is where I can discover the actual search terms that match to my ad along with my key metrics and their performance.

I can see here that Search Match is matching me to some really relevant terms that are increasing traffic to my app.

Color edit search term is driving a lot of downloads from my app at a very efficient CPA.

I want to see if I can get more impressions if I raise my max CPT bid.

So I’m going to add it as a broad match keyword.

I’m going to up my max bid to $1.25.

Color search term, on the other hand, is driving very few downloads and has a high CPA.

It’s a broad match to my color change keyword.

So I’m going to add it as a negative exact match keyword as people searching color are not finding it too relevant to my app.

Let’s add color as a negative campaign keyword.

To learn and manage the performance of the keywords I specifically targeted, I need to hop over to the Manage Keyword tab.

I see that app for lighting has a low conversion rate and the CPA at $5.17 is a lot higher than my goal.

I’m going to pause the app for lighting keyword for now.

I like the picture editor keyword, as that is performing really well.

So I’m going to use the Add Keywords tool to get recommendations for more keywords like this one.

So let’s type in picture editor.

The photo editor keyword is popular.

That should drive relevant traffic to my LightRight app.

I’ll add it to my manage keywords.

And it will show up at the top of the table.

The reporting view is a great way to discover insights about your campaigns with various dimensions.

In my case, we’re looking at the distribution of device class and impressions.

It seems that 80 percent of users are searching for my app from an iPhone.

Therefore, I should consider creating an ad group specific for iPhone so that I can further refine my bids to get more impressions from iPhone users.

Now I’m driving users to my app and generating downloads.

That’s great.

But knowing the true value of these downloads will help me understand the full return on my campaign investment.

Because Search Ads, the App Store, and the code I’ve used to develop my app are all part of the same ecosystem.

It’s easy to know which of my downloads were generated by Search Ads.

The Search Ads attribution API will not only attribute downloads to my campaign, but I can also attribute a download to a specific bidded keyword and the download date.

It’s a turnkey solution that makes it simple for me to create and track meaningful clusters of users and their value to me over time.

This information will help me determine which keywords and other targeting parameters work the best for my app.

And I can use those insights to optimize my campaign accordingly.

The best part about the attribution API is how easy it is to instrument.

You just need the ad the I Ad framework to your project and then add these lines of code to your application.

Here’s the response object from the attribution API that contains campaign hierarchy, details, download date, and click date.

While the API allows you to easily analyze and segment your users, rest assured that Apple does not sell or transmit any personal identifiable information to any third parties.

We accomplish this by enabling the information request and response on device verifying the developer, user, customer relationship and allowing the user to prevent information look up by turning limited ad tracking to on.

Now that you’re armed with these helpful tips, you’ll be ready to set up and manage your first search campaign.

Thank you, Eric.

You’re going to love this new way for users to discover your amazing apps.

What could be better than the opportunity for your app to show up at the top of relevant searches in the store that millions of users are proactively visiting every day?

And connecting those users directly to download in one tap.

Setting up your Search Ad campaign can be done in minutes.

We create the ads for you.

We match it to relevant searches in the App Store, and there’s an intuitive campaign management and reporting UI that enables you to quickly view your results.

You’re in control of how much you want to spend.

And you have the option to manage your own keywords, refine your targeting, and use our robust attribution API for advanced insights.

We’ve talked about a lot of things today.

But there are a few things we’ve mentioned that you can do to get prepared for Search Ads.

Firstly, optimize your app metadata and ensure it is a highly relevant and accurate reflection of your content.

Understand the value of your customers and how much you can spend to acquire new ones.

This will help you determine your maximum Cost Per Tap bid.

And lastly, implement the attribution API code in your app.

You’ll love the rich data it can provide.

To learn more, you can visit and here you will also find information about opting-in for our [inaudible] commenced.

Thank you so much for listening to us and have a great evening.

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