January 2017 Search Ads - What Will be Popular?

January 11, 2017

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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.

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