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Best Practices for Search Ads Management

Apple Search Ads is growing rapidly, especially since Apple launched their new App Store redesign. Since Apple announced back in April 2017 that they were expanding their Search Ads to the UK, Australia and New Zealand, developers around the world have been reaping the benefits of Apple Search Ads.

If any developer has been considering getting into Search Ads but hasn’t taken the plunge, now is the time, but there are some things you should know before getting started. Similar to ASO, Search Ads isn’t a one-time thing. Running Search Ads requires constant monitoring to make sure the campaign is working within the set budget and converting users.

Many developers fail to realize having bad Search Ads management can actually hurt their apps more than not having a Search Ads campaign at all.

Focusing on their budget, audience, and metadata, developers will ensure their Search Ads are optimized to attract and convert users. The key to making successful Search Ad campaigns is achieved by following ASO best practices.

Tips on Managing Search Ads

Managing Search Ads is a daily task, but it doesn’t mean that it should be overly grueling. Understanding that user trends and behaviors are always changing, developers should stay on in tune with their audience and adjust their Search Ads campaign accordingly. This means that if the metadata isn’t directly targeting the apps’ intended audience, users could tap on the ad but not convert.

65% of downloads come from searches within the App Store, this proves how important search is to converting users. If developers follow these simple tips, they are on their way to creating better Search Ads and managing them.

1. Monitor your Campaign Daily

It is critical for developers to monitor their campaign’s as managing Search Ads is a daily task. This means updating targeted keywords, monitoring their Cost Per Tap (CPT), and more.

While monitoring keywords is critical, sometimes trying to target the same keywords as competitors can damage the overall budget. Make sure the list of targeted keywords is general enough to what the audience would search for.

2. Understand your Audience

Consumers conducting searches through the App Store are the target audience. Meaning, whatever keywords are picked should clearly target the audience’s wants and needs while being relevant to the app’s core features.


Developers can use Search Ads tools to show how popular keywords are and focus on that list. Think of this as a test run to see how well the app is performing for those keywords. After running the campaign for a few days and gathering data on how well: keywords, conversion rates, CTP, and traffic are performing, developers can then gauge if any changes need to be made.

3. Update Metadata Regularly

Since Apple pulls information directly from an app’s metadata, the Search Ads campaign would be useless without metadata that followed ASO best practices.

Think of it this way, if the title doesn’t clearly state the app’s name or use title tags that express its core features, how will users know what the app does? The same could be said for the icon and screenshots. If they don’t match, it confuses users and leaves them wondering how they stumbled upon the app.


While it’s great to have metadata that targets the audience, developers need to also think about aligning that metadata with their current Search Ads campaign. Before making any changes to the metadata, developers should keep in mind that these updates can take up to 24 hours to appear on the Search Ads preview and up to 2 hours to actually show up in Search Ads.

Why Monitoring Search Ads Will Help in the Long-Run

If developers are not keeping a constant eye on their Search Ads campaign, they are more likely to hurt their app’s chances of being discovered in the App Store. Having bad management over Search Ads can lead to lower conversion rates and a loss of revenue.

As developers, it is important to keep their CPT and budget in the back of their minds while considering what keywords are going to be the most beneficial to their app.

Along with monitoring their CPT, developers should make sure any changes they make to their metadata is for the better. Following ASO best practices whenever they update their metadata is important because Apple creates the Search Ads from the metadata on the product listing.

Make sure the allotted budget is being used wisely, and stop paying for the tap without converting users. It’s dangerous to waste money on a Search Ads campaigns, especially if it’s not monitored daily or created following ASO best practices.

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New iTunes Update Removes the App Store

Before the world met the newly designed App Store, many noticed that Apple made significant changes to their latest version of iTunes. This change completely removes the App Store from iTunes, returning the app to its original function of a music and entertainment player.

For years, users have been able to get their iOS apps directly from iTunes, making the app massive and considered an all-in-one platform. Apple has taken significant steps in streamlining iTunes, most likely to match the newly redesigned App Store that launched on September 19th.

Since its inception, the App Store gave users the flexibility to move apps around on their mobile devices and store old apps on their PC or Mac in the event they wanted to install them again. iTunes saved all data of purchased or free apps connected to that account, combining the functions of iTunes and the App Store.

Even though iTunes is shifting its focus back to being the number one place for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and audiobooks, many wonder what this means for their previously downloaded apps, and how “black hat” companies will respond?

Where to Find Apps

When looking at the overall body of changes introduced by Apple with iOS 11, it is very clear that the App Store team is trying to put the final nail in the coffin for companies that focus on buying incentivized installs to boost their chart rankings.

In addition to relegating the ‘charts’ to a much smaller and less prominent presentation in the App Store (meaning fewer people will view them), this new change with iTunes will make it very hard for “black hat” off shore marketing companies who operate app install farms to survive. It is much harder (and more expensive) for these less-than-reputable companies to drive downloads from real mobile devices than it is to simply use iTunes from the desktop to trigger installs for a given target territory.

Apple removing the App Store from iTunes also means that users will no longer be able to hoard old apps or reinstall directly from iTunes. Once iTunes 12.7 is downloaded, users who have been syncing apps through iTunes will need to redownload them onto their devices, which Apple has helpfully laid out here: guide to redownloading apps.

By defining iTunes as a source for music, podcast, TV, audio books, and movies and redesigning the App Store, Apple has finally defined the intended purpose for both iTunes and the App Store, along with making it harder for “black hat” companies to operate. Finally, Apple’s two stores are separated for the first time in 9 years, giving Apple room to expand their efforts toward creating a beneficial experience for everyone across both platforms.

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iOS 11 Checklist: Be Prepared Before Sep. 19th

Apple has finally announced when users can expect iOS 11 to launch, and that golden day is September 19th.

For months, developers have been rapidly gathering their resources to make sure their app’s metadata is prepared for the all-new App Store. In order to make sure your app won’t get rejected or lose any of its visibility, look at our checklist for iOS 11 just in case you need to make any last-minute adjustments.

What We Know – iOS 11 Checklist

Developers, it’s crunch time. Apple will not accept any other updates with titles past 30 characters, meaning it’s crucial that your app’s metadata is 100% ready for iOS 11.

Do you have:

  • A 30-character App Name?
  • A 30-character Subtitle?
  • A 170 Promotional Text?
  • Three preview videos?
  • Screenshots for new store listing?

Make sure that your app meets this checklist so it’s ready for iOS 11, or it won’t be visible to many users. On top of meeting this checklist, it’s important to stay up-to-date on all the changes that are coming to the App Store.

What to Expect on Sep. 19th

iOS 11 not only comes with new features for users, but comes with a simpler App Store to explore and streamline their mobile experience.

1. App Store Redesign

Apple is changing the layout of their App Store to incorporate more editorialized content along with unique tabs to make finding new apps and games quicker. Along with these tabs comes the separation of Games and Apps, which effectively creates two app stores, allowing users to instantly place themselves in the store of their choosing.

2. App Name & Subtitle

Since Apple decreased the character limit for the App Name to 30 characters, the company has managed to declutter the App Store. The introduction of the Subtitle makes developers think more carefully before giving their app some random name.

The Subtitle, which is also 30 characters, can be thought of as an additional set of descriptors supplementary to title tags, and will appear right below the App Name.

3. Promotional Text

Unlike the App Name and Subtitle, Promotional Text is limited to 170 characters, and will appear at the top of the description. This text field can be updated at any time without submitting a new version of the app.

Since developers don’t have to submit a new build every time they want to update the Promotional Text, Apple encourages them to utilize the Promotional Text for sharing any new promotions, features, content and more.

4. Screenshots

In the current App Store, only the first two portrait screenshots appear in search. With iOS 11, however, the first three portrait screenshots or one portrait preview video and two portrait screenshots will appear in search.

Developers will need to make sure all of their screenshots are engaging and integrate high-volume keywords to not only attract more users, but to also improve their conversion rates. Since 65% of apps are downloaded from search, it’s important that developers are taking advantage of being able to display more of their app’s core features.

5. More Preview Videos

Despite the maximum number of screenshots staying at five, developers can look forward to submitting up to three preview videos. Tripling the number of videos now allows developers to highlight more in-app/game action, and increases the importance of conversion.

Developers should also be wary that in iOS 11, preview videos will play automatically with the audio muted, essentially eliminating the poster frame. Even though apps that utilize autoplay will not have a poster frame, the first 3-5 seconds of the preview video are still essential for capturing a users’ attention and encouraging them to download.

Moving Forward

The updates coming to iOS 11 cannot be taken lightly. With two new text fields and additional preview videos comes a great deal of trial and error. Developers can see massive increases to their app’s visibility and conversion, but only if they take the right approach.

Make sure to have a bullet-proof ASO strategy to ensure your app will reach its max audience before iOS 11 launches.


Gummicube is Attending Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco, CA

We are thrilled to announce that we will be exhibiting at MWC Americas in San Francisco from September 12-14, 2017.

In addition to exhibiting we will be sponsoring Mobile Growth House’s “Aha Moments in App Marketing” on Thursday, September 14 at 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM. Also, we will be a stop on the MWC Americas Tour of Mobile Advertising & Apps Tour.

Gummicube is very excited to have the opportunity to exhibit and attend along with some of the top mobile leaders in the industry. We look forward to having transformative conversations and plant seeds for meaningful partnerships with our co-attendees.

We will be located in booth 616 on the first level of the West Wing. Gummicube co-founders Anh Nguyen and Dave Bell, as well as some of our senior account managers, will be representing Gummicube to engage with customers and partners.

About Mobile World Congress

MWCA is a combination of the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry and a conference featuring prominent executives representing mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors and content owners from across the world.

Spread over a time of three days MWC will be a stage where mobile innovators will have the opportunity to connect, discuss pressing matters and showcase their product.

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Why Dating Apps Need ASO

The introduction of mobile apps has changed the way people interact with one another by altering the path of meeting potential mates, to impacting the way photos and dating profiles are viewed. Mobile has reshaped the way the dating world behaves.

There is a societal stigma associated with using dating apps, making some users hesitant to download. Regardless, the dating app market is growing rapidly and attracting younger and older daters alike.

With such a large market of dating apps, how do developers get their apps noticed by new users interested in finding love? With 1,500 dating apps available, and only four of those monopolizing the market, how do the remaining 1,496 stand a chance?

In order to compete on the App Store and Google Play Store, dating apps need to utilize ASO best practices to transition from an obscure dating app to a top chart dating app.

What the Mobile Dating Landscape Looks Like

In the last several years, the mobile landscape has changed from two or three major dating apps to over 1,500.

More users have begun turning to dating apps, increasing the number of users from 11 percent to 15 percent in the past four years alone according to the Pew Research Center. More impressively, dating apps in the 18-24-year-old demographic tripled in the same amount of time.

A key reason dating apps have become popular to this demographic is largely due to incorporating game-like features such as swiping left or right. Dating apps have recently started adding in app rewards, which will grant users access to more key features.

Overall, dating apps are also generating big numbers across the world. In the US, the dating app industry generated over $2 billion last year alone.

Mobile Dating Apps Around the World

Matchmaking is one of the world’s most practiced professions, meaning there are major opportunities for developers to not only tap into local users’ quest for love, but global users too.

Approximately 52 countries participate in the usage of dating apps, giving developers plenty of space to evenly distribute their apps. Developers need to consider what users in the foreign market needs and wants are. This means developers must personalize their dating apps by localizing their app’s metadata.

With that in mind, why are there only a handful of apps that seem to dominate the market across these 52 countries? According to BBC’s research, Badoo and Tinder are the biggest dating apps and dominate the charts in 21 and 18 countries respectively. Other dating apps like Lovoo and Firm follow close behind by dominating in 11 other countries.

As competition among dating apps continues to stiffen, developers need to create an ASO strategy to successfully optimize their metadata in the app’s original country and foreign territories.

ASO and Dating Apps

The congestion in the mobile space begs the question how do new mobile dating apps get noticed? Developers can utilize ASO best practices to optimize their metadata, otherwise known as the app name, keywords, description and creatives.

By making key changes app’s metadata, and incorporating title tags into the app name, users will instantly be drawn to dating apps that contain relevant keywords such as “dating,” “chat,” “meeting new people.”

Developers can go one step further and design creatives that show not only their app’s UI/UX but real people interacting. When it comes to optimizing dating apps, developers need to sell their app and prove why it is better than all other competitors. The only way to successfully do this is by utilizing ASO best practices.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing