Incipia blog

Apple Search Ads News: 11.17 Update

Gabe Kwakyi | November 16, 2023

What's News with Apple Search Ads?

Check out these seven updates, tips and tricks to help you stay current on your Apple search ads knowledge:

  1. Search Ads Bugs:
    1. Negative keywords may not work properly if you include symbols, such as hyphens. For example, to negate the search term, "brand – tagline," you would need to add the negative keyword "brand tagline," rather than the hyphenated version.
    2. When running ad groups targeting users who have already downloaded your app, you may encounter an error when clicking into the ad group that stops you from ever getting into it.
    3. When you add both exact and broad match variants of the same keyword, at the same time into the add keywords search ads UI, Apple appears to recognize them as duplicates. Add only one match type variant of a keyword at one time and you'll be fine.
  2. Troubleshooting the uploading keywords process:
    1. First, make sure you have the search ads keyword upload template. We stored a copy of it on our server, accessible here, or you can download it from the upload keywords UI.
    2. Second, ensure that you save your file as a .CSV.
    3. Third, make sure to clear any formatting, and push the decimal count for all numbers to 0.
    4. Fourth, make sure to copy the campaign ID (top right of the campaign view), as well as ad group ID and keyword ID (these both download with your keyword export) for every single keyword you want to edit.
    5. Fifth, make sure you use the right terminology:
      1. Statuses are either: ACTIVE or PAUSED.
      2. Actions are either: CREATE or UPDATE.
      3. Match types are either: EXACT or BROAD.
  3. Per a recent Appsflyer Report, advertisers are continuing to invest in search ads, leading to significant increases in CPT and CPA. Thankfully, these rates were very low to begin with, but beware that this trend is likely to continue as more advertisers start using the search ads platform.
  4. Time zone for showing ads is determined by the searcher's location. This means that if your account is in EST and your ad schedule is 8:00am-8:00pm (and you're targeting nationwide), your ads could show at 10:00pm EST to a user searching at 7:00pm PST.
  5. Be aware that your CPA will decrease over time and your CR will increase, even if taps and cost do not increase. This is likely because Apple is attributing keywords for any conversions that happen for some period of time after the tap.
    1. Related, be aware that you can see a CR over 100%, possibly due to users tapping the download button on your app's product page more than once, or by navigating away and then back to your app's product page (e.g. via direct link, category rank, feature or organic search) and tapping download again.
  6. You can ask questions in the Apple search ads forum, or contact Apple support directly by clicking the top right developer account drop-down and then "Contact Us." Just be careful not to use any symbols in your message (hyphens, quotes, dashes, bullets, etc.) because it will not send with them included.
  7. Bonus: some of the top issues reported by search ads managers include:
    1. Rising CPT & CPA.
    2. Issues with search and broad match types matching to irrelevant or branded search terms (from non-branded keywords).
    3. Tracking challenges: MMPs having to push tracking SDK fixes, discrepancies with Apple's reporting timing and Apple showing ads to users with LAT enabled, yet not pushing LAT rate % visibility to MMPs.

The Bottom Line: Stay tuned to the Incipia blog for the latest updates on Apple search ads!

That's all for now, folks! Be sure to bookmark our blog, sign up to our email newsletter for new post updates and reach out if you're interested in working with us.

Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing agency that builds and markets apps for companies, with a specialty in high-quality, stable app development and keyword-based marketing strategy, such as app store optimization and Apple search ads. For blog/video or speaking requests, business or press inquiries please contact us or send an inquiry to