The app store is a daunting marketplace filled with hidden pitfalls and misleading paths. After following this guide you will know how to carve a foothold for yourself and your app.


Finding a way into the spotlight of the featured category of the app store is an ideal goal for any development team, but will unfortunately remain unattainable for many. However, after using Apple Search Ads you’ll find a niche for your app to grow into your spotlight expectations.

Throughout this article we will talk about:

1. The features of Apple Ad Search Basic and Advanced

2. How to use Apple Ad Search

3. Tips on the App Store and App store advertising


Apple Ad Search

The most important thing to remember when using Apple Search Ads is your audience and your product presentation. Here are a few key points that will help maximize conversion for your app.


  • Figure out if you want to appeal to a large audience and possibly get more exposure, but less downloads, or appeal to a niche community and get more downloads.


  • Create an appealing app description 


  • Ensure your presentation pictures and videos are high quality and show off your app well


  • Use the review feature at crucial points in your app when the user would feel satisfied to get good reviews


With these key points in mind, let’s talk about the difference between Apple Ad Basic and Apple Ad Advanced


Apple Ad Search Basic and Advanced

1. The features of Apple Ad Search Basic And Advanced


Apple Ad Search

Say for example, your development team has developed an app and it has been on the app store for a few weeks but unfortunately you are getting few downloads.

  • Your small budget is best for Basic because Basic works on pay-per-install

Apple Ad Search


Following the idea of a small budget,

  • Apple Ad Search Basic allows you to set a monthly spending maximum up to $10,000

Apple Ad Search


If you and your team are not well versed on marketing strategies based on competitive pricing,

  • Basic provides competitive pricing options, which uses AI to compare your set maximum price per install to other developers’ prices

Apple Ad Search


This competitive pricing is essential to ASA Basic. Your ad will compete with ads for similar apps so the app store takes keywords, relevance, and ad price into account when deciding which to show.

All in all, ASA Basic is perfect for minimal management with little monetary commitment but doesn’t allow for specifications or detailed audience feedback. For more hands-on options and in-depth resources, ASA Advanced allows for much deeper insights and campaigns.



Apple Ad Search

For development teams and companies that have experience with marketing and are prepared with a larger budget, ASA Advanced is the best option.

To start off: ASA Advanced has all the same tools and features as Basic but with more opportunities for customizability.

  • Has an unlimited budget instead of Basic’s $10,000 / month
  • Payment works by pay-per-click not download
  • Can promote unlimited amount of Apps instead of 50 with Basic
  • Still uses pay-per-tap which uses a similar price recommendation as cost per install with Basic


One of the main advantages of ASA Advanced is the ability to specify your audienceApple Ad Search

The audience feature allows you to advertise to:

  • People who have already bought one of your apps
  • Specific age groups
  • People in a certain region or city
  • Certain devices or operating systems


Another key device of ASA Advanced is the feedback tools which give detailed descriptions of who you are reaching with your ads and how effective they are.

Apple Ad Search


Additionally, you can create Ad Groups which are used to refine your ads to more specific groups by using keywords, age, location, frequency, and OS so that you can ensure you are reaching your target audience.


And finally, one of the main features of ASA Advanced is the ability to specify keywords that your users might use so your ads appear more frequently under that term. Without a doubt, this feature is the most beneficial for anyone wanting to use Apple Search Advanced.

Apple Ad Search


*Note Apple Search Ads has other niche features that allow for more feedback from your ads or audience refinement but these are the main tools.


2. How to Use Apple Ad Search

There are a few prerequisites to using Apple Ad Search:

  • Have your Apple ID associated with your App Store Connect account ready.
  • Have an app live on the App Store.
  • Choose the countries and regions where you want to promote your app.
  • Know how much you can spend.
  • Sign up for an Apple Search Ads account.
  • Add a valid credit card.

And if you are an Advertising Agency you must contact Apple Ad Search for Special Registration

*NOTE  this tutorial is for ASA Advanced but many of the same steps are present for Basic.


1. Sign into your Apple Account after going to the ASA Website

Apple Ad Search

2. After Registering, Create Your First CampaignApple Ad Search

3. Choose an App to Advertise and Which Countries to Advertise in

Apple Ad Search


Apple Ad Search


4. Set a Maximum Budget per Month and Daily Maximum


5. Create an Ad Group and Make it Specific to Your Market

This is an important step in your setup process. You can choose who to market to here and it is advisable to specify that you are marketing to people who searched Close Matches to your target market.

Then you must specify how much you want to spend on cost-per-tap or CPT and consequently cos-per-acquisition which is how much you pay for installation (optional for installation but recommended).

*NOTE always start low when starting the cost-per-tap, you can always raise it if results are lower than expected

Apple Ad Search


6.  Specify Key Words

Make sure that you use at least 50-100 (100 is the max) keywords to describe the search terms for your app.

Note, if you want to change the range of your terms from Broad or exact, you can tap on the term and change the drop down menu or use [square] brackets to specify an exact search term.

Apple Ad Search


7. Finish any Niche Specifications for Audience and Creative Sets (not covered here)


8. Pay and Publish!


3. Tips For Apple Search Advertising

Over the course of my research for this article a few very apparent tricks and tips made themselves apparent:

  • Keywords are limited to 100 parts. Ensure no spaces before or after commas

  • Consider using less usual keywords to get less competition

  • Make sure to list a primary AND secondary category for your app

  • Put opportunities to review your app at points where the user is using your app and would feel satisfied

  • Use multiple Ad campaigns for an App with different audiences, keywords, and pricing