Tag Archives: Search Ads

Want to know what mobile trends 2017 holds in store?

Mobile Trends 2017 – What will Hit in Q1?

The New Year is here, and with it comes a whole new batch of trends to stay on top of.

With regards to mobile trends 2017 has the potential to be a unique year. Last fall Apple shook up the world of mobile in a major way by shortening their Title field and introducing Search Ads. This quarter, expect app developers to refine their technique when it comes to mastering the new App Store ecosystem.

Look out for these trends in Q1 2017:

Search Ads Get Refined 

As the year moves on, more and more app developers will begin to discover what performs best for Search Ads. Look for major developers to hit Search Ads even harder in an attempt to expand their search footprint into any relevant keywords.

Similarly, as more developers begin to target wider swaths of Search Ads, they will also refine how to best convert users from Search Ads.

As the New Year begins, make it a priority to learn the best practices for landing and converting from Search Ads.

Services Continue to Grow 

App Store Services picked up major traction in 2016. Expect that trend to continue as 2017 winds on.

Service subscriptions have traditionally been confined to service-based apps like Netflix and Spotify. However, games like Boom Beach have also experimented with subscription plans, showing that recurring payments can be molded to work in a number of formats.

Services have been popular for Apple, too. Service revenue grew by 24% in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016. Earlier, Apple had announced they would be offering successful Service subscriptions a more favorable revenue split of 85-15, as opposed to the usual 70-30. In order to qualify for the new split, developers would simply need to maintain a user’s subscription for one year consistently.

Superbowl LI Drives Sports Searches

Sports apps will have a field day with February’s Superbowl LI. News apps, fantasy apps and football games stand to benefit the most directly. If your app is relevant for “football”-related terms, update your metadata and creative to reflect this.

Cards, Dates and Flowers Go In Demand 

The first major holiday of 2017, Valentine’s Day will be accompanied by a surge in searches for dating, events, shopping and gift apps.

Whether your app offers gifts for couples, flowers for the parents or in-person meetup opportunities for everyone else, you can capitalize on Valentine’s Day by including relevant keywords and expanding upon them in your description and creative.

Following Valentine’s Day, some apps may want to look ahead to Easter. While the holiday falls in early Q2, apps that offer relevant services (flowers, gift baskets, candy, etc.) will want to pivot towards Easter sooner than that. Change out your Valentine’s Day marketing language and keywords for Easter by early Spring.

While gift apps will have a field day, games can get in on the holiday fun too. The later winter to early spring season is often a popular time for game developers to run special events, like last year’s Angry Birds Epic mini-campaign. This event introduced a miniaturized version of a standard Angry Birds Epic campaign for Valentine’s Day, featuring new levels, special items and more.

If your app can be positioned as relevant for winter and spring holidays, be sure to have your metadata and creative updated in advance so that you have already begun indexing by the holiday.

Search Ads change in popularity just like keywords

January 2017 Search Ads – What Will be Popular?

Search Ads may seem straightforward at first blush – Just target a highly searched term, bid higher than the competitors and watch your app take off. In reality, placing a successful Search Ad is more complex.

In order to have the best possible Search Ad, you must meld your advertising strategy with your ASO strategy. You should also take into consideration how your iOS screenshots, title and icon will display in your Search Ad.

Even with an optimized listing, your Search Ad means nothing if it doesn’t place your app in front of numerous new users. For this reason, your Search Ad strategy must constantly evolve, just as your keyword and creative strategies likely have in the past. Make an active attempt to stay on top of all relevant, popular search terms that you can, and jettison old ads that are no longer converting for your app.

Below, we will take a look at several trends that will impact popular Search Ads over the first month of 2017.

Football and Sports Terms

Superbowl LI doesn’t technically fall in January, but as the month comes to a close you can count on football searches picking up in a major way. Games like Madden stand to benefit heavily from this, as do apps like ESPN and Draft Kings.

If your app can be seen as relevant to football, now is this time to start staking out popular terms and brands related to the sport. Find out which search terms will be most popular as the football season comes to a close, and optimize your app description and screenshots if necessary to target them.

Remember that Search Ads are based on relevancy, and Apple is very intelligent about determining this relevancy. You don’t necessarily need a football game to land a Search Ad for the word “football”, for example. A soccer game also makes a compelling case. A baseball game could be positioned as perfect for football fans looking for their next sports fix.

If you have a sports app, terms like these could help you expand your app’s search footprint:

  • Football games
  • Madden
  • ESPN
  • Sports games
  • Sports app

To find more rising keywords to target, consider conducting your own research using software. Just make sure your app is at least tangentially related to the terms you’re looking to target.

New Games in Popular Series

A handful of new games have come to the App Store in popular genres, and several more will be arriving before the end of January. If your game is similar enough to any of these highly-searched games, you may want to consider branching out with a Search Ad targeting their titles.

Five Nights at Freddy’s: A fifth game in the ultra-popular series just hit the App Store, and both “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and its abbreviation “FNAF” are highly-searched terms in the App Store. Horror buffs and fans of interactive storytelling will be the primary users searching for terms like this.

Super Mario Run: Although Mario released in mid-December, the game still sits at the top of the most-downloaded list. Ranking for “Mario”, “Mario Run” or other search terms will no doubt be contentious, but also take into consideration the other terms that Mario will raise with him. “Nintendo” is popular, for instance, while “running games” might capture users who were disappointed in Mario’s debut as they search for an alternative.

Yo-Kai Watch: Although not yet a household name in the United States, Yo-Kai Watch is a hugely popular Pokémon-like in Japan, and the series has picked up enough of a following in the United States to make “Yo-kai watch” a highly-searched term. A new game in the RPG series is slated to hit iOS, and games that revolve around collecting monsters may find an audience by placing their Search Ads here.

Star Wars Force Arena: While the latest Star Wars mobile title won’t technically be out until March, it will no doubt be popular once it launches. Hearthstone currently has a Search Ad at the top of the term, and it seems like a good fit – Force Arena will be a strategy-based, competitive title when it releases. Having your ad at the top of search results when the app releases could draw sci-fi and strategy fans.

 

2017 is just getting started, but already you can see the foundations of the year’s popular Search Ads forming. With Superbowl LI and a new Star Wars game coming up, along with Mario and Five Nights at Freddy’s still drawing searches, developers have many options for positioning their Search Ads in the month ahead.

Optimize Search Ads for your app in the new year

Increasing Conversion With App Store Search Ads

App Store Search Ads are often cited as the number one trend to watch for app developers in 2017. Placed prominently at the top of relevant search queries, Search Ads show vital information about your app to potential customers and, in concept, can help even a small independent app reach the top of search.

In line with the traditional ASO process, Apple ensures that their Search Ads work based on relevance and not based solely on the highest bidder. Even so, landing a Search Ad is not a guarantee that you will begin converting users right away.

To get the most from your Search Ad, it is important to target the right terms at the right time. Just as trends shape the keyword landscape in the App Store, so too will they dictate which Search Ads are best for your app.

To this end, any developer targeting Search Ads should take several steps prior to settling on a campaign strategy.

Choosing Your App Store Search Ads

To start, select a base of keywords that you wish to target for your app. These terms should relate to your app’s core features and demographic. With iOS, a Search Ad will only be truly successful if Apple determines that your app is relevant for the term.

Once you have a base list of terms, eliminate any that aren’t searched commonly by users. Find out which terms are searched most, as this will open your app to the most potential traffic from new users.

Keyword data in the App Store is fluid, and changes often. It can be helpful to use software to determine the optimal high-ranking search terms for your ad. 

Tracking Trends in Search Ads

As keyword rankings move up and down in popularity, they take their respective Search Ads with them. For instance, if the number of users searching for “free games” goes down, so too will the number of users who see your app at the top of search results for that term.

Search Ads can and should be tracked just like keywords. If a keyword is declining in popularity, or if your app is failing to catch on for a certain term in your keyword bank, those might be keywords that your app should not target in a Search Ad.

On the other hand, rising keywords can be a great way to branch out into relevant categories that other developers haven’t caught onto yet. By using software to track keyword trends, you can stay on top of which terms are gaining popularity in your app’s field and capitalize on that by quickly purchasing a Search Ad.

Finally, consider seasonal words and phrases that might catch on around the same time each year. “Black Friday” and “New Years” are great recent examples. If your app offers anything that might relate to a large event or holiday, that can be a great way to catapult your app towards a large new audience.

Creating Relevance for Your Ads

Earlier we mentioned that Apple tends to favor relevant apps for Search Ad placement. What if your app is relevant, but you still haven’t caught on for the keywords you are targeting?

In that case, it’s time to look back to your app’s store page. Just as a standard app optimization creates relevance for the words in your title and keyword bank, an optimization for Search Ads should create relevance for terms you wish to target in future ads.

You can create this relevance in several ways.

Your app description is a great place to start. If you are trying to target “Black Friday”, for example, it would be pertinent to highlight upcoming Black Friday deals your app might host in the first few sentences. If you are trying to target “New Years”, simply explain how your app might help users with resolutions, scheduling, finding activities, or whatever else makes your app relevant to users during the new year. If Apple is not seeing how your app is relevant, be sure to explain it to them.

Screenshots are another great way to call out new features that might make your app relevant for your intended Search Ad. Keep in mind that Search Ads can feature up to three portrait-orientation screenshots. This is an increase of one screenshot from traditional search results. Take advantage of this by showing off key features relevant to your Search Ad in your first three screens.

Finally, your app title can help to create relevance for a keyword you wish to target. Keep in mind that while Apple still cuts off long titles with an ellipses in search results, the full 50 characters in your title are visible in a Search Ad. Use this space to create relevance and explain your app’s core features.

Tracking Conversion

Finally, after your Search Ad has gone live, take advantage of Apple’s built-in tracking tools to keep tabs on conversion. Just as you would abandon a term from your keyword bank if it were underperforming, you should either re-tool or abandon Search Ads that don’t work for you and re-focus on new terms that may prove more lucrative.

 

With your Search Ads optimized, you will greatly increase your chances of appearing at the top of search results for relevant users.

App Store Search Ads are a great complement to your ASO strategy

How Search Ads and ASO Go Hand-in-Hand

Apple launched their Search Ads initiative just over two months ago, taking the world of App Store developers by storm. Many developers feared that these new ads, placed prominently at the top of search results, would nullify or somehow contradict the ASO work they had already done. In fact, the opposite is true – ASO and Search Ads go hand-in-hand.

To understand how best to incorporate Search Ads into your existing ASO strategy, you must first look at how the ads work and what Apple wants to achieve with them.

Why Search Ads?

When the App Store’s title limit was 255 characters, thousands of spammy apps cluttered the store. These apps crammed keyword after keyword into their titles and descriptions, attempting to manipulate Apple’s rankings system by targeting often-irrelevant high-volume phrases. These apps weren’t just sloppy, they looked sloppy on the storefront, too. It was the opposite of Apple’s clean, sleek aesthetic.

By removing apps with titles longer than 50 characters and introducing Search Ads, Apple has forced spammy developers to clean up or leave the App Store, without denying legitimate developers a way to increase their rankings in the absence of a long title field.

This motivation extends out past Search Ads. Everything Apple does in the App Store, they do to create a more streamlined, friendly experience for users.

How ASO Can Help

That said, Search Ads on the App Store work a little differently than other keyword-based ad platforms. While many ad platforms award placement to the highest bidder, Apple also takes an app’s relevancy into account. It is incredibly difficult to have your app featured number one in a Search Ad for a term it is completely irrelevant for.

This comes from the same philosophy that led Apple to remove long titles from the App Store. For Apple it’s all about user experience, and that means for Search Ads it’s all about relevancy. If your app isn’t relevant for a keyword, you won’t have any luck targeting it in an ad.

ASO is all about creating that type of relevancy. A standard keyword optimization always takes into account which words and phrases your app is relevant for, and which of those phrases are being searched most by users. ASO then becomes all about selling Apple on the relevance of your app to those phrases.

A similar process can be used to create relevancy for keywords that you wish to target in Search Ads. It’s all about creating context for why your app is relevant for the terms you wish to target.

Because a standard optimization already creates relevance, and App Store Search Ads require and thrive off of that relevance, ASO and Search Ads work together to bolster one another. It’s just another way in which all mobile marketing is beginning to center around ASO.