The Connection between Apple Search Ads & ASO

Matan Offerby

5 min read

Apple Search Ads (ASA) is not only vital for building your keyword database, but also for understanding which keywords lead to a higher conversion rate. ASA campaigns can boost an app’s organic ranking due to this extra keyword knowledge.

Through creating monthly ASO reports for our clients, we’ve been able to observe the relationship between various aspects of mobile marketing that often go overlooked. This is precisely how we came to know the extent of the connection between ASO and Apple Search Ads.

This is a guest post written by Moburst.

Apple Search Ads campaign launch

Amid global economic uncertainty resulting from COVID-19, we saw online shopping take the reins of the App Store. In that context, one of our e-commerce clients Shopkick wanted to get their name at the top of the store fast and entrusted us to pilot a huge ASA campaign.

We launched a campaign that took a broad approach of keywords, intending to optimize them further into the campaign. To keep it broad, we started by choosing keywords based on the highest search volumes in the shopping category. We also wanted to accelerate the learning curve to see which keywords convert the most, allowing us to initially focus on this more than a higher CPI.

AppTweak’s Keywords Section allows you to easily identify the most popular keywords and other key metrics to increase your app’s discoverability

Targeting competitor’s top organic keywords

We used AppTweak’s Apple Search Ads and Ad Intelligence tools to further complement our keyword database. As far as choosing the best Apple Search Ads keywords to go, it’s not too different from ASO.

Learn how to successfully bid and choose the right keywords for your Apple Search Ads campaigns

You want to look for words that strike the perfect balance, not too popular that you don’t stand a chance but popular enough that they drive impressions and lead to conversions.

With AppTweak’s Organic Keyword Protection feature, you can see the top 50 keywords that drive most organic downloads to competitors, along with the number of apps that run ads on those keywords.

Choose keywords for which there are little to no bids. These are often highly valuable.

AppTweak shows you the level of protection versus main competitors bidding on top organic terms AppTweak shows the keywords that drive the most organic downloads to your app and the level of protection from other bidding apps.

Impact of Apple Search Ads on category rankings

Over the first couple of days of the Shopkick Apple Search Ads campaign, we gradually optimized and removed keywords that weren’t converting. This required careful analysis that was made possible by the trusty metrics we had access to with AppTweak.

When it came to analyzing the app’s trends for our monthly report, we noticed a decline in CVR. This didn’t match the significant advance we’d made in keyword rankings. So, naturally, we analyzed further and found that the decline wasn’t connected to Search traffic but to Browse traffic, in relation to “Similar Apps” and category ranking. This confirmed: CVR reduction impacted organic behavior, bringing in less traffic from similar apps, which further resulted in category ranking loss!

AppTweak's analytics allow you to t
AppTweak’s Analytics Section: Historic Ranking Category

To understand the cause of a decrease in CVR, we always check the app’s CVR over time. We use the feature on AppTweak that shows you the CVR in a time-series graph. For Shopkick, we found that the CVR dropped dramatically when the Apple Search Ads campaigns began. Looking even further, we found that many keywords had generated high volumes but few installs. Hence the low CVR – it all made sense.

By integrating your console you'll be able to see your conversion rate from your console data
AppTweak’s Analytics Section: Historic Conversion Rate (CVR) through Apple Integration

The low CVR impacted the app’s organic behavior, causing less incoming traffic from similar apps, which perhaps led to a lower category ranking. We thus closed all the low CVR keywords sooner, so as not to continue negatively affecting the app’s organic performance. This is how the Apple Search Ads and ASO team worked in tandem to fully understand the app and progress in both areas.

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When Apple Search Ads campaigns and ASO efforts are launched simultaneously, it’s crucial to monitor the conversion rate. It’s essential that you’re aware of the implications ASA campaigns can have on your organic app marketing work. For example, it’s a good idea to know that a low CVR can damage the app’s overall ranking, and Apple Search Ads campaigns can be the cause of such low CVRs. You can adjust your Apple Search Ads campaign accordingly to ensure that all elements of the app marketing funnel are heading in the right direction.

Read our latest guide on Apple Search Ads

A holistic approach is key to successful mobile marketing. Each team needs to work together for optimal app performance. The collaboration between Apple Search Ads and ASO teams is no different: it can either help or damage an app’s visibility and it can help to develop a deeper understanding of app performance.

  • ASA and ASO teams must work together to ensure successful and consistent results
  • It’s essential that you’re aware of the implications ASA campaigns can have on your organic app marketing work
  • Whenever you see a decrease in CVR, check historic data and different sources of traffic
  • Changes in browse traffic can also impact your CVR

Remember, though, that no mobile marketing agency can work alone in the dynamic world of apps. We rely heavily on third-party tools like AppTweak to give us the data we expertly analyze for our clients!

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Matan Offer
Matan leads ASO at Moburst and is passionate about all organic things (traffic included!). Matan has helped many companies increase their store visibility and conversion, helping them save costs on UA.