The Apple Search Ads tool has been a marketing staple for many app developers since it was first released in 2016, and has helped boost conversion rates of average mobile users to 50%. Since its release, Apple has expanded the tool to various countries and released two programs, Search Ads Basic and Search Ads Advanced. Throughout these updates and expansions, one thing has been consistent: where the creative images come from.
Search Ads makes marketing easy for app developers. Thanks to Apple’s algorithm, it pulls all assets from the app’s product page and displays the best performing ad to users. This means users will see one of two or three variations, depending on screenshot and preview video orientation:
- Icon plus first two lines of description (or promotional text)
- Icon plus first three portrait screenshots (or portrait preview video if applicable)
- Icon plus first landscape screenshot (or landscape preview video if applicable)
Now Apple has released Creative Sets that will add more variations to ad campaigns. Let’s examine what this feature is and how it will help developers, as well as why they need to focus on optimizing their creative assets.
Creative Sets – What Are They?
Apple is allowing developers to include additional creative images to add variations that align better with targeted keywords and audiences. Developers can include both screenshots and preview videos that can be selected from their app’s product page.
These variations are not going to be run separately, but rather in addition to the current image and text ads that are created using an app’s metadata. Developers can have up to ten Creative Sets per ad group, but they’ll have to monitor their product page, because if an asset is removed, then any Creative Set using that image will be paused.
Additionally, developers will have to:
- Have four or more portrait assets and two or more landscape assets for iPhones
- Have three or more portrait assets and two or more landscape assets for iPads
Having additional creative assets means that developers will have to follow best practices for each one to ensure that they convert more users.
Importance of Creatives
Developers need to optimize their creatives, as failure to do so will result in poor conversion rates. As such, developers should follow ASO best practices for screenshots, such as:
- Using on-brand colors
- Displaying concept or character art tied to the latest updates
- Using a call-to-action (short phrase)
- Incorporating high-volume keywords and highlighting them in a heavier font weight or color
They should also pay attention to best practices for preview videos:
- Emphasizing the app’s core features
- Including the poster frame
- Following Apple’s guidelines
While Apple isn’t making developers create completely new images like a Google AdWords or Facebook campaign would, the use of additional assets is sure to help convert more users and expand an app’s audience. Developers will have to make sure that they follow the above best practices to optimize their screenshots and preview videos.
Utilize Creative Sets
The addition of Creative Sets is sure to benefit developers, as it adds variety to their already existing ads and helps them become more relevant for targeted keywords and niche audiences. In the long-run, this latest feature to Search Ads will be beneficial only if developers make sure to follow ASO best practices for screenshots and preview videos so their ads can reach their full potential.