Search Ads and ASO

Apple Search Ads and App Store Optimization: Why You Can’t Have One Without the Other

Apple Search Ads is a marketing tool that’s proven invaluable to app developers looking to find an audience. It helps place apps front and center for relevant searches, capitalizing on the 65% of downloads that come directly from search. Yet without App Store Optimization, an app will have a sub-optimal Search Ads campaign. Likewise, Search Ads can in be beneficial for your organic ASO strategy.

To have a truly optimized App Store listing, both ASO and Search Ads work hand-in-hand. Here’s why you can’t have one without the other.

1. How ASO Helps Search Ads

App Store Optimization is vital for any app looking to appear in the App Store. It helps create relevancy for targeted terms or keywords and entices users to install the app once they see it. This is just as important for Search Ads as it is within organic search itself.

Keyword targeting is vital for both Search Ads and organic App Store Optimization. The app’s keyword bank (as well as its title and subtitle) help determine what terms Apple indexes the app for in search. As such, those keywords (or variants thereof) can be investigated to be utilized in Search Ads. Once you know what keywords are relevant, popular and how your app ranks, you can gain an understanding of potential terms to target, as they have been established to be relevant for your app.

However, it’s not enough to just pick any keyword from your targeted list. Search Ads and organic indexation are not done in exactly the same way. With Search Ads, the description must be written with ASO best practices in mind and utilize the keywords you want to target for Search Ads in a consistent and relevant manner. A proper description will not only better convert users, but also build relevancy for Search Ads keywords to improve your chances of getting impressions from Apple Search Ads campaigns.

Lastly, while Search Ads will help your app appear at the top of search results for your targeted keywords, you’ll still need to follow ASO best practices for the app page itself. Once users see the app, it will require strong creatives and a well-written description to convince them to download it.

The first creatives that the app shows are also incredibly important. Search Ads will place the app at the top of the search results, so the creatives there must be engaging and demonstrate the app’s core features. With the recently-added Creative Sets, developers can also make sets of creatives to align better with certain audiences or keywords, so ensuring that each one follows ASO best practices is essential.

2. How Search Ads Help ASO

While ASO is necessary for an effective Search Ads campaign, Search Ads can also feed into an effective ASO strategy.

Using Search Match and Broad Match, developers can determine relevant keywords. For Search Match, the Search Ads algorithm scans the metadata and app’s category to find relevant keywords for the Search Ads campaign, which can also be tested and used for an app’s ASO strategy. Similarly, Broad Match uses your core keywords to find variations such as common misspellings and plural or singular versions, which can help identify commonly-searched terms one might have otherwise neglected.

Developers using Search Ads campaigns can also determine how well their keywords are working through their campaigns. By identifying and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) for targeted keywords, developers can see which terms and highlighted features provide the best results, allowing them to refine their ASO accordingly.

Search Ads also provides an opportunity for increased visibility on keywords targeted organically. Just as with organic ASO, Apple indexes top ranking apps on a keyword-by-keyword level based on click-through rate. This click-through not only applies to organically ranked results, but also Search Ads- positive CTR on a Search Ad can help your app index higher in organic search.

Every Search Ads campaign provides valuable feedback for developers. They can measure success for each targeted keyword and creative set and refine their campaigns and ASO from that feedback. With Search Ads, it’s possible to get a clear view of how users are responding, which is invaluable for ASO.

3. Overall

App Store Optimization can help create an optimized Search Ads campaign, while Search Ads can help test and refine an app’s ASO. The two work together, enhancing and refining one another to continually provide improved results.

Without App Store Optimization, a Search Ads campaign has no foundation, while an ASO strategy can gain a boost from the data Search Ads provides. One without the other will provide sub-optimal results, but an app can use them together to continue improving its visibility within the App Store.

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