How to build your Search Ads strategy in new ASA markets?

Marie-Laure Cruytby
CPO at AppTweak

7 min read

Search Ads being now available in 6 new store fronts (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Spain), there are 6 new markets in which to explore this new paid acquisition opportunity. To help you out, we wanted to share a few tips about how to build your Search Ads strategy using AppTweak.

AppTweak now supports Search Ads in all 13 ASA markets, our Search Ads Intelligence Dashboard gives you great insights on which keywords your competitors are bidding on, or who else is bidding on your branded words and what is their share of impressions. Here’s how to get started.

Step 1: Identify who is attacking your brand terms

As you know, Search Ads allows you to pay to be visible in the first search result, that’s great, but so is it for all your competitors, and they’ve probably already started! You want to rapidly identify on which keywords you are being attacked and by who.

To do so, you can check your app’s organic keyword protection status. We fetch your app’s the top 15 download keywords (that is the keywords for which your app ranks best and that drive good traffic) and show which apps are bidding on that word.

Learn more about our top organic download keywords

For each app, we show the share of impressions (called the Share of Voice – SOV) its ad has received over the last 3 months. You can then tell which competitors are most threatening and spending the highest amounts on your brand keywords.

Tripadvisor has no ads running on its top organic download keywords in FranceTripadvisor has no ads running on its top organic download keywords in France

If you want to know which competitor is being most aggressive across all your download keywords, you can check our Competition Ads Share of Voice. This graph shows the apps bidding the most on your brand keywords and their overall share of impressions. ads have the highest Share of Voice on the TripAdvisor organic download keywords in France (27.5%)

Lieferheld and Lieferando together take 74% of Ads share of voice on Deliveroo’s download keywords in Germany.

What should I do? – The Search Ads Defensive Strategy

Well, if you’re not bidding on your brand words and your competitors are, you definitely want to start protecting yourself. The top organic download keywords indicates the words that bring most downloads to your app. If a competing app appears in the ad banner above, you are probably losing organic downloads at their advantage.

We recommend to defend your most valuable keywords by bidding on them too. This may sound counter-intuitive (you’re bidding on a word you already rank n°1 on organically), but if you don’t appear in the ad banner, someone else will, and you’d rather avoid that.

Step 2: Discover opportunity keywords

Once your brand terms are protected, the next step is to identify other keywords (either generic or competition branded) that can drive installs.

Ranked vs. unranked keywords – what works best?

Search ads is a great opportunity to get your app visible on those keywords you just can’t manage to rank on organically. However, before spending all your budget on those words, you might want to understand why is it you’re not ranking on those words:

  • Maybe there are already too many apps ranking there? In which case, the same probably applies on the number of apps bidding on that word. You might have to set high bids to get your ad showing, so make sure it’s worth it!
  • Maybe the keyword isn’t relevant enough? In which case, you might end up paying for taps that lead to poor quality or no installs.

We would recommend bidding on words on which you app is ranking in top 20 or top 30 results and cannot reach the top 10. Moreover, we’ve discovered a nice little trick that makes your app visible in the organic 8th position as well as in the Ad Banner when a user sees your ad. This trick only works for keywords on which you already rank organically, so make sure to prioritize these.

Learn more about this trick on how Search Ads can boost your organic rankings.

Brand vs. generic – which to go for?

Well, this obviously depends on your budget and policy, but, of course, the more generic the keyword the highest you will have to set your max CPT to hope to get impressions. Brand keywords also tend to be very expensive since brands fiercely protect themselves by setting high bids on their most valuable words. Therefore, the best option is to find words that aren’t too competitive but still popular enough to drive impressions and relevant enough to assure conversions. Just like ASO! (except you’re paying for those conversions(!)).

Here again, AppTweak can come in handy. If you want to attack competitors, you can browse through their top organic download keywords and see if there are any with few or no apps bidding. Those can typically be high opportunity keywords.

In the travelling industry in France, there are still many keywords with no ads running.In the travelling industry in France, there are still many keywords with no ads running.

Step 3: Track your competition’s strategy

Which keywords are your competitors bidding on? Where are they most visible? What campaigns are they launching?

Monitoring your competitors’ Search Ads strategy can really help finetune your own and avoid losing installs to their benefits.

On AppTweak, you can track you competitors and check their top 100 paid keywords as well as their share of impression on that word. This is very useful to pinpoint the top volume keywords they are bidding on or the words for which they have the highest share of impression.

The Top 10 volume keywords Helix Jump is bidding on.The Top 10 volume keywords Helix Jump is bidding on.

You can also track any competitor’s bidding history on a word. Here again, you can easily find out if any new campaign is being launched or is dying out.

The bidding battle for highest SOV on the word “juegos” (Spain)The bidding battle for highest SOV on the word “juegos” (Spain)

The SOV history helps understand why you are suddenly getting lower impressions on a word: maybe someone else has started to aggressively bid on it. You can also spot opportunity moments when you see a competitor campaign starting to slump: that’s probably a good time to start bidding.

Learn more on our In-Depth SOV History feature


To summarize, if you’re new to Search Ads, or if you’re about to launch a Search Ads campaign in a new ASA market, we recommend to follow these 3 steps:

  1. Identify the words you’re being attacked on (and fight back!) -> Use AppTweak’s organic keyword protection feature to quickly identify who’s bidding most aggressively on your top download keywords.
  2. Discover opportunity keywords no one is bidding on yet (and get started!) -> Find words with no bidding apps on AppTweak in any ASA country
  3. Track your competitors’ Search Ads strategy (and adjust yours accordingly!) -> Check out your competitors’ top bidding keywords and monitor the SOV history on important keywords to follow campaign trends.

Our Search Ads Intelligence Dashboard will help you get the right insights to finetune your Search Ads strategy and bid on the most worthwhile keywords. And the best news is that it’s available in all ASA markets:

  • The Americas: Canada, Mexico & United States
  • Europe: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland & United Kingdom
  • Asia: Japan & South Korea
  • Oceania: Australia & New Zealand

So let’s get started! Get Search Ads Intelligence Dashboard now!

Sign up for our 7-day free trial to access this massive pool of data and conduct your market research.

Start a 7-day free trial

Marie-Laure Cruyt
by , CPO at AppTweak
Marie-Laure is CPO at AppTweak, she has always worked in digital companies with a product focused around an app or a SaaS. She’s a real (dark only) chocolate lover.