Incipia blog

Why Search Ads are a Better Bet in iOS 11

Gabe Kwakyi | November 18, 2017

The game has changed pretty significantly for ASO since the launch of iOS 11. The world of Apple Search Ads has also changed, though not to the benefit of ASO.

So why are Apple Search Ads a better bet in iOS 11 than in iOS 10? The answer is simple.

In iOS 11, Apple has begun inserting several new results into the search results page, each of which pushes organic results down, yet all of which appears below the search ad result, allowing the search ad result to benefit from being the only app result present in a keyword search. Here are 3 such search ads boosters:

Apple Stories

These results will likely proliferate, as they can appear for pretty much anything Apple feels like creating a story for, not just larger categories like weather below. As stated above, stories pose a serious challenge to organic downloads but are a boon for search ads given that they push the first organic result down. Yet, because they are pretty appealing visually, they are also a potential challenge to earning search ads taps. Tapping one of these results takes the user to a sub-feature area.

app store story our favorites best racing games

app store story our favorites best racing games


Developer Pages

Like category pages, developer pages occupy an early position in the search results page. In the first version of iOS 11, developer pages would obscure the actual branded app's organic result, allowing search ads to capture prime real estate unchallenged by the branded result. Apple has fixed this in their iOS 11 update, yet searching for a brand name like Zynga can still cause the search ad result to sneak in before the branded app result.

app store developer page

Category Features

Category feature results are also pests for organics and even bigger benefits for search ads than stories. This is because, unlike stories or developer pages, a category result contains no apps in its icon or description, allowing the search ad to capture real estate unchallenged by the presence of even a single pixel of another app if the search ad is a full screenshot-type. Category feature results are just a way for Apple to grab more attention, but the funny thing is: they look like shit. What Apple was thinking when they decided to use such clip-art images to represent categories we'll never know.

app store category search result

apple search ads app store category


Don't forget to check out our post on why using Search As for brand defense is a must!


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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 post topics, feedback or business inquiries please contact us, or send an inquiry to