Apple Search Ads Changes Default Creatives

August 15th, 2019

Apple Search Ads Changes Default Creatives
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

Apple Search Ads is a great tool for marketing your mobile app; it can help put your app in front of users while contributing to its organic growth. With that in mind, developers running Search Ads should monitor their campaigns closely, as any changes to the program can impact ongoing campaigns.

Creative Sets & Changes

In June 2018, Apple added creative sets to Search Ads. These let developers choose what screenshots they want to display with their app’s ads on distinct searches or for specific groups of users. The selected screenshots are shown alongside the app in the search results when the ad is served.

When setting up creative sets, normally the first images on the app’s screenshots are the defaults to display. If the app uses portrait mode screenshots, it chooses the first three. If it uses landscape screenshots, it selects the first one.

Recently, developers have noticed a change. If an app uses a creative set that features both landscape and portrait screenshots, Search Ads will prioritize the landscape screenshots and default to the first image in that layout, even if there are several portrait-mode images ahead of it.

This can result in apps delivering ads with less than optimal creatives. While each screenshot should be designed according to ASO best practices, the order in which screenshots are displayed is important.

For instance, if an app displays its value proposition on the first portrait mode screenshot, then supplemental information on a landscape image later on, it will want to present the portrait mode image first.

Apple displays either three portrait images or one landscape image in search results. If an app’s creative sets are designed to display the three portrait images, developers may not want to have their top three images replaced by a single one.

What Developers Can Do

As this only occurs for apps utilizing a mix of landscape and portrait mode screenshots, apps that only use one or the other for their creative sets do not need to worry about it. Apps that do use both can check their Search Ads campaigns to ensure they’re displaying the right creatives.

Even if you’re not displaying alternate creative sets, it’s still important to check and ensure your default is correct. There is a chance that Search Ads will have defaulted to the first landscape image, even if the first three images are all portrait.

If this is the case, you will have to manually adjust the selected creatives to select the ones you want for the campaign. This is a good opportunity to select distinct creative sets as well.

Changing your screenshots can impact your conversions from Search Ads, so it’s important to make sure you have the right images showing up for the right Ad Groups.

If you do use portrait and landscape images, make sure the first landscape image will work for general Search Ads campaigns. That way, it will work as a default image should it show up as one.

The following images can then be targeted for specific Search Ads campaigns, such as certain recipes for food apps or items on sale for shopping apps.

It’s important to monitor your Search Ads performance and ensure all aspects are up to date and optimized. The creative sets are a key visual aspect of the ads, so displaying the right image for the right searches can help an app’s Search Ads campaign succeed.

Want more information regarding App Store Optimization? Contact Gummicube and we’ll help get your strategy started.

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