Incipia blog

Apple Search Ads News: 12.13 Update

Gabe Kwakyi | December 13, 2016

What's News with Apple Search Ads?

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

  • How Search Ads appear:
    1. Search ads either show an icon and first two description lines only, or an expanded view, which includes an icon and your first three screenshots, not just two as is the case with organic results. This means that, if you are running search ads, it is even more crucial to order screenshots wisely and consider the impact of your first three screenshots, not just #1 and #2.
      1. Your first two description lines can become the text in your search ads for smaller ad units, so make sure you're using the right messaging and keywords at the very start of your description.
    2. Preview videos can show up in search ads (corrected 1/10/17).

apple search ads example

  • App Store bugs/issues:
    1. The App Store app appears to freeze up from time-to-time, forcing users to have to close and re-open the app during discovery.
    2. Additionally,  after five consecutive searches on the same keyword, search ads appear to stop serving. Keep this in mind when you're doing sample searches to learn about your own app's ad serving patterns, as well as the competition.
    3. Apple also appears to have stopped reporting on performance data in search term reports for (low volume terms), showing instead only the bid and total spend (and replacing other stats like impressions, taps, conversions, etc. with dashes), further obfuscating efforts to ascertain the impact of these unknown terms.
  • Not sure whether the performance you're seeing is good or bad? Based on our and some of our fellow ASA marketers' experiences, here are some averages for different statistics you can use to compare to your campaigns (Note: this is based on a small sample set and not meant to be an accurate representation of the industry as a whole):
    1. Average TTR/Tap Through Rate (exact): 10-20%
    2. Average CR/Conversion Rate (exact): 40-60%
    3. Average daily impression volume per keyword, per rounded search popularity tier (exact):

apple search ads search popularity vs daily impression volume

  • Here is some more information regarding the mechanics of how search ads work:
    • Keywords will not "compete against one another" in the case that multiple keywords are eligible to serve for one impression; the most relevant keyword for that ad impression will earn the impression and you will only pay enough to beat the competition, plus $.01. 
    • Your keywords will not earn a CPT discount for having a better TTR/relevance (as we had previously assumed, given the Adwords PPC auction rewards advertisers for having a better CTR/Quality Score with a better effective CPC); however, having a better TTR/relevance will help enter you into more auctions for ad impressions, thus raising your impression share.

    • Conversions are based on a (non-adjustable) 30 day, last-click attribution window. This means that you could see your conversion, CPA and CR statistics change for up to 30 days after a recorded click.

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