It has been just over one year since Apple has rolled out its Search Ads platform, something that piqued the interested of developers interested in quality install channels world-wide. Search Ads is Apple's tool that helps developers bid on certain keywords at varying costs, allowing them to compete against other competitors in their market for their relative “hot keywords.” To this date, developers, agencies and marketers have spent upwards of $580 billion, according to a recent report by eMarketers. From a marketing perspective, it would only make sense to start spending it where millions of mobile users are browsing for the next big app. If you've got your campaigns all set up, how are they looking? Are you seeing the ROI you were hoping to see straight off the bat with your new investment in Search Ads? Hopefully your answer isn’t "no." If it is, then you may want to consider these five reasons why your Search Ads campaign may be failing: 1. Your Metadata is Irrelevant Make sure you fine tune your app’s metadata (title, subtitle, keywords, description) to make your app relevant for your most important terms in Search Ads. One of Apple’s first announcements was that your app would need to be as relevant as possible for all of the keywords you bid on. One of the largest pillars of App Store Optimization, relevancy can be built the following ways: a) Including the Search Ads keywords in your app's title b) Including the Search Ads keywords in your app's subtitle c) Including the Search Ads keywords in your app's promotional text d) Including the Search Ads keywords in your app's description Your ability to incorporate these keywords into your app description helps Apple determine how relevant you are for these keywords. This is not to say that you should keyword stuff- building contextual relevance for your targeted terms will help. The more relevant you are, the more likely you’ll appear and the more likely you’ll convert.
2. Your App Has Low TTR Compared to the Competition
If your tap-through-rate isn't as high as you'd like it, your creative probably aren’t helping. If users aren’t compelled by the app’s creative in the overall Search Ad, they will likely pass over the add to the next app that appears in search. Your app's promotional text can also appear in the Search Ads. Pay attention to what's being used in the 170 character space. An app’s promotional text appears as one of the display options that Apple provides to developers. As these can be updated outside of a build release, start to test different messaging and monitor Search Ad Performance. Swap these out and see which one performs best. Additionally, take advantage of the keywords that are performing well. Incorporate these keywords into your app’s creative to help with TTR on your Search Ads, and even CTR in organic search 3. You’re Relying on Search Match/Broad Match There are thousands of keywords that you can be looking into and bidding on to help improve your Search Ad performance. Look at what the market is doing. There are probably hundreds of additional keywords you can start to bid on if you think of your app on broader terms. Extend your overall visibility past your immediate features and work towards broadening your overall funnel. See what keywords you’re ranked for, too! Beyond your immediate target keywords, a tool like DATACUBE can help you see what Apple is finding you relevant for- some may be outside of your original scope.
4. The Cheapest Keywords Aren’t Always the Best
Cheap keywords in the Search Ads platform don’t necessarily mean quick wins- these keywords are cheap because there’s very low competition. If no one is searching for those keywords, there’s very little chance you’ll gain more than a few impressions. Re-adjust your budget to allow you to bid on bigger, competitive keywords. Chances are, if your app is relevant, you’ll appear and have more of a chance of gaining more visibility through those keywords.
5. Have Patience!
Search Ads is a learning platform. Give the first run-through of your campaigns at least 10 days before making any changes. Performance will always be volatile at this time as Apple learns and readjusts your app in various ad cycles. Give it time and you’ll be able to see accurate results. Poke around and see what you can do with Search Ads. There are tons of way to get started on your app’s paid search marketing, with Search Ads being the tip of the iceberg. Avoiding any of the five pitfalls above should get you to a good place, and hopefully even seeing return on your Search Ads investment.