With over 1.5 million apps competing for users' attention in Apple's App Store, developers are struggling to get their app noticed and downloaded while consumers are becoming increasingly tired of trying new apps. The result is that apps are being buried in the App Store search results causing developers to miss out on users and revenue. Two weeks ago, Apple introduced a new way to mitigate this problem: advertising.
Similar to ads on Google search, Apple will start showing ads at the top of search results on the App store (for U.S. users). The beta program was launched this week and will be available to everyone in the fall. It should be noted that about a year ago Google already took this step when they introduced search ads to the Play Store.
This step, among other changes Apple introduced lately, is aimed at helping App Store developers increase installs and maximize their revenue in a market where acquiring and retaining users is becoming increasingly difficult. At the same time, this step will help Apple increase its own revenue.
Apple’s new search ads can be beneficial to all developers and apps but will especially assist indie and small developers in their efforts to get noticed and acquire users for their apps.
Nowadays, search is an essential part of app discovery. According to Apple, 65% of app downloads are a direct result of searches made on the App Store, that’s what makes the new search ads so important.
Here are the main details:
- Only one ad will be shown per search — the top-ranked ad will be shown, while the rank is based on a combination of relevance, bid and Click Through Rate (CTR) factors.
- Ads will be clearly marked with a light blue background and a blue “Ad” mark.
- Ads will have the same content as the app’s App Store listing. Apple automatically creates the ad out of the content on the app’s page.
- Targeting can be automatic as well, though taking control and selecting specific targeting by keywords or audience is also possible.
- Ads will be handled through an auction system; the winning bid only pays ‘just enough’ more than the second place bid.
- Pricing is by pay-per-click, or pay-per-tap as Apple calls it.
- Apple doesn’t share users’ data. They don’t share data about users’ ad clicks and don’t create profiles for users (age, gender, location etc.). Developers and marketers will only get search terms reports.
- Ads will not be shown to users under 13.
Now, as the details are clear and known, the question is how this will affect the app marketing arena.
ASO Will Become More Important
Optimizing both the app discoverability and the App Store listing will become significantly more important whether you are planning on using the new search ads or not. Since search ads are a nutshell of the store listing, optimizing the app listing has become even more important. In addition, since search ads will have to answer to a relevance score, app listing will have a direct impact on both the top of the marketing funnel by generating clicks through an ad, and on the bottom of the funnel by generating installs through the app page.
Even if you don’t use search ads, adding a new way for apps to be highly ranked makes the competition on the top search results even more intensive, and marketers will have to work harder in an attempt to be ranked high organically.
Access to New Data: Which Search Terms Actually Drive Installs
As part of the campaigns data, marketers apparently will be able to get this very important piece of data that wasn’t available until now.
Having said that, not having access to users’ data could make the impact of ads less significant.
App Store Search Ads, Seem to Be the Most Efficient Platform for Driving Ios App Downloads
Allowing marketers to reach users with the strongest intent exactly at the point when they are looking for apps is dramatic. Combined with the concept that as the ad is closer to a point of conversion, it shortens the funnel and produces a higher conversion rate, makes the search ads an app marketing platform with the highest potential in sight.
There is no doubt that this is a game changer. Apple is a new player in the field that has been mostly dominated by Google and Facebook. All that is left now is to wait and see how this will affect Google and Facebook and what their response will be.