Apple Search Ads Keywords: Tips, Tactics, and Strategies

Laurie Galazzoby 
Chief Revenue Officer at AppTweak

7 min read

Learn how to find the best Apple Search Ads keywords and optimize your Share of Voice (SOV). Use our tips and tactics to outrank your competitors and protect your brand. Watch us in action on “All Things Apple Search Ads Online Conference” hosted by SearchAdsHQ.

All you need to know about ASA keywords

On April 11-12, Olivier (AppTweak Co-Founder & CEO) and Laurie (Inbound Marketing Manager) participated in All things Apple Search Ads Online conference, organized by SearchAdsHQ.

For two days 10+ leading experts such as Gabe Kwakyi from Incipia, Thomas Petit from 8fit or Sylvain Gauchet from Apptamin shared their tactics for maximizing Apple Search Ads performance.

If you’re interested in starting a Search Ads campaign for your app, or if you’re looking to improve your campaign results, check out this webinar on Search Ads Keyword Optimization best practices. Actionable hacks and case studies included!

Source: SearchAdsHQ – Splitmetrics

Key Insights – Search Ads Keyword Optimization

Find below the main key insights from the webinar as discussed in the video.

Understanding Search Popularity

Before getting your hands into both your organic or paid keywords optimization, it is crucial for you to understand what exactly is the Search Popularity and how to best use these indicators in your analysis.

With the arrival of Search Ads, Apple disclosed the Search Popularity indicator for any keywords in the countries supporting Search Ads (currently being US, UK, MX, CA, CH, AUS, and NZL). The rest of the world will most likely follow soon.

AppTweak was actually the first ASO tool to provide this indicator.

Here are 8 crucial facts about Search Popularity:

  1. The Search Popularity is an indicator between 5 – 100. Search Popularity of 5 equals to randomly typed keywords such as “uydhukodsjudf” (basically = 0).
  2. The Search Popularity gives an estimation of the level of popularity of a keyword. Higher the number = higher the popularity.
  3. The Search Popularity varies across countries: a french keyword will be more popular in Canada than in the US for example, because there are more french speaking people in Canada than in the US.
  4. The Search Popularity is not an absolute number but rather relative: a keyword can have the same popularity in two different countries (e.g: 41 in the UK and 41 in the US) but the amount of impressions and searches will most likely be higher in the US, as the population is bigger.
  5. Search Popularity distribution is not linear: for US keywords, the average Search Popularity = 27.5 ; the Median = 27.61% of keywords (US) have a Search Popularity that’s below or equal to 30.This means that it is very difficult to find very high search popularity keywords, as most of them are concentrated around 30.
  6. Additionally, the Top 20 keywords in the US (Search Popularity >80) are all brands, with the exception of “games”.
  7. There are 3 different English, with various Search Popularity values: English US, English UK, English AUS. Make sure to localize properly your app accordingly!
  8. The Search Popularity of a keyword evolves over time, according to seasonality. You can use AppTweak to track any keywords’ Search Popularity over time, as well as the Top Search Popularity growth over time.

Understanding Search Ads Share of Voice History

There are two main strategies that you can use (and combine) for your keywords selection:

  1. Defensive Strategy = Protection
    • First, start by discovering which keywords bring most your organic downloads.
    • Then, secure your rankings on these keywords by bidding on them.
    • Finally, monitor your keywords rankings and their Search Popularity in order to detect new potential keywords.
  2. Offensive Strategy = Attack
    • In this case, check out the keywords bringing most of your competitors organic downloads.
    • Then, position your app on these keywords by bidding on them.
    • Ultimately, monitor your keywords rankings and their Search Popularity in order to detect new potential keywords.

Apple doesn’t provide any information on the amount of times an app is appearing as Ad in comparison with other apps, once a bid is won on a keyword.

Good news: AppTweak actually provides you with all the data you need to manage both your Defensive and Offensive strategies.

Our Search Ads Intelligence Dashboard gives you the list of the Top 15 keywords bringing most of your app and your competitors’ organic downloads.

Along with that, we provide you with the Share of Voice (SOV), which is an estimated share of impressions (in %) per keyword, allowing you to track your ad visibility on the keywords you bid for.

Similarly, you can track your competitors’ Share of Voice on both your top keywords (to see if they are attacking you) or on their top keywords (to see if they are using the defensive strategy).

Additionally, we provide you with the Share of Voice of each of your Top 100 paid keywords. You get the distribution of all apps bidding on the same keywords as you do, along with their own SOV.

The same analysis is provided for your competitors Top 100 paid keywords.

Our Share of Voice (SOV) estimate is based on a 90-day history. Our system simulates a few searches per day on each keyword for 90 days and then provides with a great indication of their SOV.

While this data is already extremely helpful, we went even further. We’ve recently added a new feature called the “In Depth Study” where we actually simulate up to 50 searches a day.

This feature gives a bigger Share of Voice accuracy and shows the evolution of the SOV over time. This helps understanding your competitors strategy and identify key moments during which they are intensifying or decreasing their paid campaigns on any chosen keyword. Pretty useful!

Use Search Ads Data to Improve your ASO

There are multiple ways in which you can improve your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy using Search Ads data.

Apple provides Recommended keywords for any app willing to start a Search Ads campaign. These keywords are suggestions that Apple found potentially interesting for your app according to your app’s metadata.

These recommendations are actually interesting for your ASO as well, as they give you an additional source of inspiration for your keyword research.

Similarly, Apple provides Related keywords for any given keyword (or keyphrase). This is also another interesting source for your ASO.

Here again, both these sources of keywords are available directly on AppTweak.

Bidding Keywords

Another valuable source of insights for your ASO is of course to track your competitors paid keywords. This gives you a clear indication of which keywords are part of your competitors semantic dictionary, and therefore, ASO strategy.

Use Search Ads Conversion Rates

While running your Search Ads campaigns, Apple provides your conversion rate for each paid keyword. This source of data is extremely insightful as it tells you how well your keywords are converting impressions into pageviews or installs.

Using this component in your ASO strategy is a great trick: you can prioritize the most converting keywords in your ASO campaigns (adding them in your title or subtitle for instance).


ASO and Search Ads are both ongoing processes, requiring regular work and updates. They both can influence each other.

Discover in our next webinar how Search Ads can have a direct influence on your organic rankings and traffic. Stay tuned!

In the meanwhile, wait no longer to improve your Search Ads campaigns with AppTweak!

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Laurie Galazzo
by , Chief Revenue Officer at AppTweak
Laurie is Chief Revenue Officer at AppTweak and joined the company in its early stages (2014). She's passionate about new technologies, growth and mobile marketing. Oh, and also about sushi.