Apple this week opened Search Ads in its App Store for iPhone and iPad in the U.S to all publishers and developers after announcing the service last June. The ads go live Wednesday with a credit toward the first campaign. The ads aim to target consumers based on relevance.
"Apple’s App Store search engine determines how relevant your ad is to what someone is searching for, and shows the ad if it matches," wrote John Koetsier, mobile economist at TUNE in an email to Data and Targeting Insider. "Higher matches will show before your ad shows, as you’d expect, and higher bids show before lower bids, assuming all else is roughly equal."
Relevance, he explains, seems to be more important to Apple than the amount advertisers are willing to bid. If people do not find the ad or the app useful and don’t click to download it, Apple will stop showing the ad, regardless of your bid.
"Advertisers can create multiple campaigns, each of which can have multiple ad groups, each of which can be focused on different keyword combinations," Koetsier explains.
The number of apps downloaded from the Apple Store reached the 100 billion for the first time in June 2015, up from 75 billion in the prior year, according to Statista. In September 2016, Apple announced that 140 billion apps had been downloaded from its App Store, up from 130 in June 2016, and 100 in Jun 2015, per statistics company Statista.
While the percentage continues to slow, it's also estimated that 25% apps downloaded by mobile app users worldwide were only used once during the first six months of ownership, according to Statista.
Koetsier also said Apple provides data to advertisers that includes keywords people searched on before clicking on the ad, which will help app publishers understand those downloading the app.
The downside is that the only creative advertisers can use is material Apple has already approved in the app listing on the App Store, he said. This means if advertisers want to change their ad they need to update their app name, screenshots, video, or description.
While the launch is limited to the U.S. at the moment, Apple likely will take the service global.
Omer Kaplan, CMO and co-founder, ironSource, said that Apple Search Ads highlights the increasing importance of app discovery as a critical problem.
App store search is the dominant way that apps are discovered, but comScore estimates roughly half of smartphone owners don’t download new apps monthly, while the average user downloads two apps per month.