How Apple’s App Store Search Ads are enabling developers to expand their discovery profitably

Gaining rank at cost

How Apple’s App Store Search Ads are enabling developers to expand their discovery profitably

Launched seven months ago on the US App Store, Apple’s Search Ads for the App Store have now also gone live in three new key English language territories - the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Cited as driving more downloads by improving discoverability, Apple says the feedback to-date from developers and users has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’.

It’s not giving out hard numbers but says the conversion rate from a consumer seeing an ad to downloading an app is better than 50%.

Furthermore, research from Appsflyer over the first month of Search Ads reckoned over 4% of users gained via Search Ads made an in-app purchase.

Perhaps more importantly, the cost of getting an app download is said to be in the order of $1, although the cost varies massively depending on the type of app or game.

In lucrative markets such as social casino or RPGs, CPI costs can exceed $10 because developers know they can generate an average of $15 to $20 per player.

Who’s next?

But aside from such metrics, what’s really interesting about Search Ads just playing around with different search terms and seeing what adverts are triggered.

In terms of searching for specific game titles (“Clash of Clans”) or generic terms (“Clash”, “Game”, “Candy”), or even misspelling (“Crus”), the range of games thrown up is striking.

Perhaps unsurprising, a lot of ads are coming from Chinese developers, who are using the large amounts of cash generated from their domestic market to fund international expansion.

But it’s not only such companies getting in on the action. Smaller developers are clearly bidding on the specific keywords important to their games, and likely using daily spending caps to ensure their marketing budgets don't explode.

And it's their appearance which underlines Apple’s point that the low CPI cost means that Search Ads gives tech savvy developers of all sizes the opportunity to expand their audience in a controlled and profitable way.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.