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Apple Search Ads: What Impact on App Store Optimization?

Search Ads

Apple Search Ads: What Impact on App Store Optimization?

This week’s guest post goes to Whalla Labs, mobile app development company. At WWDC16, Apple introduced the arrival of Search Ads, which will be displayed in the App Store search results. But how and when will these ads appear? How will they affect App Store Optimization (ASO) and app discoverability? Everything you need to know below.

Read the entire post on Whalla Labs blog.

App Store discoverability: looking for a needle in a haystack

App Store discoverability has always been a controversial topic, subjected to a lot of criticisms due to its lack of relevance and accuracy. With over 2 million apps in the store, smaller app developers struggle to get their app known while big publishers spend thousands on (mobile) marketing to keep their apps top-of-mind.

Although Apple already made several efforts to improve its ecosystem in favor of indie developers, the amelioration of its algorithm remains a great challenge.

Given that about 65% of downloads are coming directly from searches on the App Store, the importance of optimizing app store discoverability is capital.

App Store Optimization (ASO) is therefore becoming increasingly popular. Often referred as “Mobile SEO”, ASO is the process of improving each element of an app weighting in the algorithm. If done effectively, this technique can increase app rankings and keywords rankings, which will make the app found easier.

Recently - and for the first time - Apple has announced the arrival of Search Ads. They will give the App Store research experience a whole new feel. One of the main objectives behind these paid ads is to enhance app store discoverability.

Search Ads, “relevant to what the user searched for”

Among other changes - such as the comeback of the “Categories” tab for easier navigation or the improvements on the “Featured” section - Apple has officially introduced Search ads in the App Store.

Publishers will now be able to bid on Search Ads to make their app appear at the very top of the search results (similar to Google search).

Only one Search Ad at a time will be displayed and it will show the same content as other apps in the App Store listing. To indicate its difference with organic app results, Search Ads will be colored in blue, showing an “Ad” icon.


Image courtesy: Apple

These Search Ads will be relevant to the search query and to the user’s intent. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, has actually insisted on the protection of consumers, claiming that their browsing experience will only be enriched with relevant results.

Indeed, no matter how much publishers will be willing to pay for an ad, their ad stands no chances to be displayed if it’s not entirely relevant to the search.

Plus, Schiller mentioned that these ads will not be shown to anyone under 13 and that users will be able to opt-out from any ad data or location tracking (through iOS settings).

Most importantly, Apple claims that it will not share any search user data with app developers nor create any search profiles of app store users. Only basic demographics and users behaviors towards the ad will be stored internally in order to display the most relevant ads.

Search Ads: a fair system for developers

Search Ads will definitely reshape app store discoverability, giving even more importance to keywords research.


Want to learn more? Read the rest of this post on Whalla Labs blog.