How to leverage ASO and Apple Search ads to boost installs

Did you know that ASO and Apple Search Ads campaigns work better as a team? Both ASO and Apple Search ads are all about relevancy so it’s important to understand how to play to your keywords’ strengths in both arenas.

In today’s article let’s discuss the various ways that ASO and Apple Search Ads can inform one another and vastly improve your paid and organic strategies:


Optimizing your product page for Search Ads

Like I just previously stated, both ASO and Apple Search Ads are all about relevancy.

The App Store algorithm wants to see an association between your target keywords and phrases and the context of what they know your app is about.

It’s important to start your ASO and Apple Search Ads journey by optimizing your app’s product page first. This means including target keywords in your title, subtitle and description as well as optimizing your graphics (icon, preview video and screenshots) for the best user experience).

A well-optimized page with lots of contextual evidence, like LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords (words or phrases that are semantically related to each other), and targeted keywords in your users’ reviews will perform better in Search Ads campaigns in the long run.


Applying Data and Learning

The Apple Search Ads provide a near-seamless experience for the user. Contrary to something like a banner ad, when displayed in Search Results, the Search Ads blend with the other organic results. For that reason, they can definitely be looked at as part of the organic strategy for an app and leveraged to improve ASO efforts. The Search Ads platform provides a lot of insight in specific keyword performance, and when campaigns are structured properly there is a wealth of knowledge to obtain.

Let’s talk about what we consider the “ideal” campaign structure for Search Ads, and how we can apply our ASO strategy to Search Ads and vice versa.



  • We’ll have only one Ad Group utilizing brand terms with exact match targeting (no Search Match). This campaign is mainly used to prevent competitors from displaying above your app in Search Results. The CPA and costs will generally be very low, so don’t be afraid to up the bids here.


  • Again, only one Ad Group for this campaign, but as you can assume, we’re going to enter all competitor terms. We’ll also use exact match targeting on all keywords, with Search Match toggled off. This campaign can be extremely valuable in understanding the competitors the user was looking for before ultimately settling on yours.


  • This campaign will target keywords that you believe are valuable for your app. Here’s where we can apply some ASO knowledge and weigh the keywords that we would like to rank for, and those we’ve included in our ASO optimization. Let’s set up one Ad Group, utilize exact match targeting and keep Search Match off. This campaign will be especially valuable in determining the keywords that are actually important to your app. Based on the results, you can adjust your ASO optimizations to place the best-performing keywords into more heavily weighted positions (app title, etc…).


  • The Discovery campaign is an exciting one, and needs to be properly formatted in order to have success. In all of the other campaigns to this point we’ve turned off Search Match and targeted exact keywords. This campaign will be the opposite, and the point is to learn and determine how users are finding your app. In the Discovery campaign, we’re going to have a “Broad” Ad Group which will be a direct copy of the Generic campaign’s Ad Group except we’re going to utilize broad match targeting on all of the terms rather than exact, and also keep Search Match off. We’ll create an additional Ad Group called “Search Match” where we do not enter any keywords, but toggle Search Match on. Here’s the most important part: you need to add the keywords from all other campaigns as Negative Keywords for this campaign, with exact match targeting. Why? Prevent overlap of course. The entire point of this campaign is to Discover keywords that we didn’t necessarily think of or plan on.


The important part with Search Ads is that we cannot “set and forget” the campaigns. The key is to constantly adjust bids, filter out low-performing and not-relevant keywords and learn! Understand the keywords that are performing and driving high downloads and transfer that knowledge over to your ASO optimizations.


Misspelled Keywords

Last week we talked about Keyword Misspellings. Because people often times type in a word incorrectly in search, misspelled keywords and terms can actually have a large volume. This space is full of untapped potential for many app niches.

Here’s how to use ASO and Apple Search Ads with keyword misspellings:

  1. Access Search Ads dashboard
  2. Use our Keyword Volume Extension to find opportunistic keywords like misspellings
  3. Apply these keywords to your organic optimizations of your product page
  4. Achieve higher rankings for targeted terms
  5. Assess whether or not you should target these organic keywords in your Search Ads campaigns (for example, if you’re able to rank #1 for a targeted misspelling, you don’t necessarily need to run Search Ads for that keyword; you’re already getting those eyes organically).


Important things to remember about ASO and Apple Search Ads:

The increased volume of installs driven from Search Ads can help organic growth due to “heating up” velocity and increased social proof on and outside of the App Stores.

However, Apple Search ads won’t help organic growth for specific keywords being targeted. This is an important distinction to understand before you start pouring your marketing budget into paid acquisition strategies.


How to leverage ASO and Apple Search ads to boost installs | The ASO Project Blog | App Store Optimization

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