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While app developers are able to advertise their app on various platforms such as Facebook and with display ads, the majority of app downloads come from within the App Store itself. According to App Store data, more than 65% of app downloads occur as a result of people using the search tool.

App developers and publishers now have the option to pay to get their app featured at the top of these search results, which could lead to a massive boost in downloads.

App Store search ads

Search ads within the App Store have been in beta since June 2016, and they rolled out for use by publishers and developers in the US on October 5. Similar to Google search ads, promoted ads in the App Store will appear at the top of the search results and will be clearly marked as ads with a light blue background and a blue Ad label. Currently, only one ad per search will appear at the top of the listings, and this will be selected based on relevance to the search terms and price bid by the advertiser.

Advertisers can control how much they are willing to bid, and can set a maximum daily budget and a campaign budget. They will pay on a cost-per-click, or “cost-per-tap”, basis, and can bid separately for campaigns on iPads and iPhones. Developers select the keywords and negative keywords they want to target with their ad, with help from a keyword suggestion tool that shows how popular particular keywords are. Audience-targeting features also allow developers to specifically choose their target audience based on age, gender, location, as well as other information such as whether or not they have already downloaded your app.

Advertisers don’t even have to create copy or visuals for their search ads because an algorithm does all of this for them. All of the necessary details and images are automatically taken from the app’s page in the App Store, and the metadata submitted with it. Developers will also have access to analytics to monitor how well their ad is performing.

Apple has promised that search ads will not show up if they are not relevant to users’ search terms, so it seems that carefully selecting the keywords you want to target will be very important here. Conducting keyword research using the provided keyword suggestion tool along with any external keyword tools is highly recommended.

With so much competition in the App Store, this new advertising option could give smaller developers of lesser-known apps the opportunity to spread the word of their app further across the App Store and see great increases in downloads. Apple is even offering qualifying developers $100 in free credit when they start using their search ads. This is a great opportunity to get started with advertising on this platform with very little risk.

As advertisers don’t create their own ad copy, this is an advertising opportunity with very little time investment needed, and app downloads could soar as a result.