How to Raise Bids Effectively in Apple Search Ads?

Sukanya Surby 
Content Marketing Manager

7 min read

Apple Search Ads (ASA) has emerged as a crucial platform for app marketers looking to boost their visibility in the App Store. Understanding and optimizing your bids not only enhances your app’s discoverability but also ensures the efficiency of your ad spend.

In this blog, we’ll explore the best practices for bidding in Apple Search Ads.

What are bids in Apple Search Ads?

Before jumping into complex strategies, it’s essential to grasp what makes a good bid. A bid is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a tap or install on your ad. Determining this hinges on understanding your app’s conversion rate and the value each install brings to your business. Gather data on how your ads perform, and then adjust based on the insights you gain.

Apple Search Ads auction dynamics

Apple Search Ads operate on an auction system where ad placement is determined by a combination of bid amount and relevance score. Higher bids increase the likelihood of winning the auction, but they must be balanced with the overall budget and campaign goals.

This illustrates how bids and relevancy determine the winning ad in a second-price auction
This illustrates how bids and relevancy determine the winning ad in a second-price auction. Source: Apptweak

When should you raise your ASA bids?

To effectively raise and set bids in Apple Search Ads, it’s crucial to understand the mechanics of the auction system and implement strategic practices. Here’s a comprehensive guide based on expert tips:

  • Market dynamics: Stay alert to changes within your app category, such as new entrants or increased bidding from competitors. If you notice competitors gaining more visibility, raising your bids can help you regain a competitive edge
  • Address low impression share: If your ads have a low impression share, it indicates that your competitors are capturing most of the available impressions for your targeted keywords. To address this, consider increasing your bids to become more competitive. Additionally, optimize your ad copy and use more relevant keywords to increase your ad’s appeal and relevancy.
  • Performance-based adjustments: If your ad campaigns are yielding positive ROAS and staying within your cost per acquisition targets, consider raising your bids to capture more volume. Also consider raising bids for keywords with a high conversion rate. Capturing more of this high performing traffic might yield more downloads and revenue.
  • Capture seasonal traffic: During peak seasons, holidays, or trending events, increasing bids can help capture the surge in search traffic. This ensures your app remains competitive and visible when search volume spikes.

Gain valuable insights & tips to boost your app’s visibility with this guide to Apple Search Ads

When should you lower your ASA bids?

  • Avoid organic cannibalization: Monitor your keyword performance to ensure that paid ads do not cannibalize organic traffic. Adjust bids strategically to complement your organic search results, thereby maximizing total visibility without unnecessary expenditure.
  • Reallocate budget: Identify relevant keywords for which you have a very high SOV. You might be able to reduce bids on these keywords slightly while still capturing the majority of the search traffic. Lowering bids slightly while maintaining a winning position can free up budget to allocate to other campaigns or keywords that need more support.
  • Manage budget efficiently: Keep a close watch on your budget to prevent running out of funds prematurely, which could disrupt your ad activity and impact overall performance. Allocate your bids and budget in a way that ensures consistent ad presence, particularly for high-converting keywords.

Best practices to optimize bidding in Apple Search Ads

Here are a few best practices to help you improve your ASA bidding and maximize the ROI of your advertising spend:

Start with competitive analysis

Conduct thorough research on what your competitors are bidding for similar keywords. Identify competitors in your app’s niche and analyze the keywords they are targeting. This can help you discover untapped keyword opportunities, evaluate their performance, and finetune your own keyword strategy. However, looking for the right keywords often involves a lengthy and inefficient process with multiple teams and tools. AppTweak’s Search Ads Manager streamlines this by allowing you to analyze organic and paid keyword metrics side by side, helping you identify high-value keywords and manage bids more effectively.

You can find thousands of keyword opportunities for ASA in AppTweak's Search Ads Manager
You can find thousands of keyword opportunities for ASA in Search Ads Manager. Source: AppTweak

Search Ads Manager

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Leverage keyword segmentation

Organize your keywords into categories based on performance, value, and relevance. This allows for targeted bidding where you can allocate more budget to high-performing keywords and reduce spend on underperforming ones. Differentiating between branded and non-branded keywords can optimize bids more effectively.

Use Apple’s suggested bid range

Apple provides a suggested bid range for keywords based on current marketplace competition. Start within this range and adjust as necessary based on performance and strategic objectives.

Factor in lifetime value (LTV)

Your bid strategy should consider the lifetime value of a user. Higher user LTV might justify higher bids for acquisition, maintaining a positive return on investment.

Implement demographic bidding adjustments

Tailor your bids based on geographic location and demographic data. Increase bids in regions or demographics where your app performs well or where higher LTV users are located.

Test different bid strategies

Experiment with various bid amounts and strategies to determine what works best for your app and target audience. Conduct tests to gather valuable insights that guide your bidding decisions based on real data.

Optimize for ad quality & relevance

Ensure that your ads are high-quality and relevant to the keywords you bid on. Apple ranks ads based on bid amount, relevance, and quality. Improving these elements can lead to higher Share of Voice (SOV) without necessarily increasing bid prices.

Use automation tools

Implement automation tools to dynamically adjust bids based on performance data. This helps maintain optimal bid levels without constant manual intervention, ensuring efficient and effective budget use. For instance, with AppTweak, you can set rules to automatically adjust bids to enhance visibility and manage costs:

  • Raise bids on low-impression keywords until they reach your maximum CPT
  • Lower bids on high-impression share keywords to find the optimal price
  • Reduce bids on high-cost conversion keywords to keep acquisition costs manageable
Build custom automation rules to scale your Apple Search Ads in AppTweak
Build custom automation rules to scale your Apple Search Ads in AppTweak. Source: AppTweak

Find out how SoundCloud managed to reduce its budget for ASA and double its installs 


Keep these tips in mind while setting CPT bids in Apple Search Ads:

  • Monitor which auctions you are winning and adjust bids based on competitive analysis to maintain a competitive edge without overbidding.
  • Use automation to dynamically adjust bids for high-performing keywords, capturing valuable traffic while optimizing budget allocation.
  • Keep track of your budget to prevent disruptions in ad activity, ensuring consistent presence for high-converting keywords.
  • Adjust bids during peak times to take advantage of increased user activity.
  • Improve ad copy and relevance to increase impression share and compete more effectively.
  • Conduct competitive analysis, organize keywords by performance, use suggested bid ranges, update negative keywords, consider user LTV, use Search Match, tailor bids geographically and demographically, and experiment with various strategies to optimize efficiency.

Start a free trial to optimize your Apple Search Ads campaign management today.

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Sukanya Sur
by , Content Marketing Manager
Sukanya is Content Marketing Manager at AppTweak, creating intriguing content for app marketers. She possesses strong editing skills, delights in storytelling, and holds a deep appreciation for classic literature.