Apple Search Ads impact on ASO

Apple recently announced the implementation of Apple Search Ads in the App Store.

This will allow developers to pay for an ad placement at the top of a keyword search in the App Store. Apple also revealed that 65% of all apps are downloaded via search (true to many previous estimations). That being said, the Apple Search Ads will definitely become a highly utilized (and highly competitive) opportunity for developers looking to grow their install numbers.

As demand and competition grows for the Search Ads placement, it’s fair to assume the price will increase accordingly. As prices rise, only the big-budget publishers will be able to keep up with the costs.

What does this mean for ASO?

ASO will be more important than ever. By implementing these Apple Search Ads, the tech giant is merely catching up to other major search engine algorithms. Search ads in the Play Store have been available to developers for almost a year, and think of Google web search, Yelp, Amazon, or any other popular search engine; search-based advertisements are common. In all of those examples, organic results are crucial, and yield a more valuable user/customer.

With the introduction of Apple Search Ads, the company has given developers a slight peak into their locked box of keyword data by revealing “Search Popularity” to potential advertisers. This allows advertisers to view a measurement of keyword searches in order to choose what keyword to place their advertisement under. This tool will very likely become the “Adwords Keyword Tool” of the App Store, and can be utilized by non-advertising developers.

In addition to Search Ads, there are definitely ASO-related changes on the (not so distant) horizon. Apple is lagging behind when it comes to search algorithm technology and has been due for a major improvement. As most developers know, optimizing for the App Store is much different than the Play Store. By implementing a new title and keyword list, there can be improvements to ASO relatively quickly. The Play Store requires more knowledge of writing content in an algorithm-friendly way; keyword density, positioning, phrasing, etc. As Apple improves upon their search, the description will continue to gain more importance.

What can developers do?

Understand that ASO in the App Store goes beyond a title and keywords. There are different types of users that look for different things. Some users are drawn in by a unique icon and interesting screenshots and don’t even read a description prior to downloading. Others will read every character of a description and view every screenshot! It’s important to understand the types of users visiting your page, and cater to all of them. Design a unique icon and creative screenshots to capture the attention of the “quick decision making” users, but it’s also important to make sure the description is well written throughout, and your fifth screenshot still has the same creativity and value as the first few. A good description has strong keyword density/frequency, builds interest, highlights key features/unique elements, and “sells” your app.

ASO Tip of the Month: Sign up for the Search Ads Beta program right away and you’re likely to receive installs for free from the ads! Apple is encouraging developers to sign up for the beta in order to test and improve the process for the real launch. The Beta doesn’t cost anything and will likely drive additional installs in the meantime!


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