Apple Search Ads Basic vs Advanced: Which solution is right for your app?

Apple Search Ads Basic and Advanced… What’s the difference anyway? Which one should you choose?

Yarkın Tepe
February 28, 2022

The first decision any app marketer faces when starting an Apple Search Ads campaign is choosing between Basic or Advanced solutions. To select the optimal option based on your goals and budget, it's crucial to understand how each solution functions under the hood. Only by truly grasping the differences between Apple Search Ads Basic and Advanced can you determine the best path for attracting quality users and achieving your key performance indicators. 

No UA professional wants to later discover they picked the wrong solution due to insufficient upfront research. With some homework on the mechanics and capabilities of each plan, you can confidently kick off your Apple Search Ads journey knowing your strategy is primed for success from the get-go. Making an informed choice from the start sets the foundation for driving continual growth on the platform.

To find the right solution for your app, let’s first discover what Apple Search Ads is all about and how it helps to grow your business.

What is Apple Search Ads?

The App Store serves as a hugely popular global marketplace, connecting businesses large and small with over 650 million active users every week. For over a decade now, it has proven to be a trusted environment where people can easily discover and download apps much like yours.

Apple Search Ads offers developers a prime way to showcase their mobile apps on the App Store platform. Specifically tailored to spotlight your app, Apple Search Ads increases traffic and ensures your software gets the attention it deserves. By intelligently matching the most relevant users with your offering at optimal moments, this customized approach helps qualified customers uncover your app. This targeted methodology of connecting the right audiences to suitable apps guarantees your software reaches the appropriate people.

Leveraging Apple Search Ads, you can be confident that your app is prominently displayed to individuals actively searching for similar programs. Through strategic promotion, you maximize the chances that the right users end up downloading and becoming loyal fans of your app.

How do Apple Search Ads Basic and Advanced differ?

Apple Search Ads Basic

Apple Search Ads Basic presents the simplest way for developers to get started with promotion on the App Store. As its namesake implies, Apple Search Ads Basic offers a streamlined setup approach. Campaign creation and management are quite straightforward - you need only select your app, choose target markets, define a monthly budget cap, and then Apple Search Ads' automation takes over handling optimizations behind the scenes.

With Apple Search Ads Basic, the platform will work to enhance app visibility in search results on your behalf. Since you're in control of spending via the budget input, Apple Search Ads Basic ensures downloads are achieved predictably within your cost constraints. This gives developers the power to boost awareness of their software while keeping marketing expenditures manageable and avoiding overruns. The upshot is increased reach and potential loyal users all while maintaining cost discipline through simplified yet effective promotion.

For many, the ease and predictability of Apple Search Ads Basic makes it a low-risk first step to promoting apps via paid search. The automation takes care of campaign nuances so developers can focus energies on other growth matters.

Apple Search Ads Advanced

Apple Search Ads Advanced provides developers with increased oversight compared to the Basic option. Unlike Basic's more hands-off approach, Advanced gives marketers full autonomy over campaigns to maximize visibility and grow app downloads within the App Store ecosystem.

With Advanced, it’s your campaigns, your budgets - you maintain tight control. There are no minimum spending mandates enforced either. Thanks to a pay-for-conversions (CPC) billing model, Advanced ensures only charges for real user engagement with ads, allowing spending that precisely suits needs without arbitrary thresholds.

Advanced leverages app metadata and graphic assets directly from App Store Connect to dynamically craft marketing messages. Plus, you gain access to diverse ad placements tailored to target the right potential customers across different environments.

Marketers additionally benefit from granular performance analytics for deeper segmentation analysis. A proper understanding of campaign nuances through rich reporting equips developers to optimize and improve returns on Apple Search Ads over time.

In summary, Advanced liberates UA professionals to fully customize Apple paid search efforts, helping expertly guide user acquisition strategy at its most optimized.

Pros and Cons of Apple Search Basic vs. Advanced

Pros: Apple Search Ads Basic

Simple Setup: Apple Search Ads Basic offers a streamlined interface, empowering advertisers to spin up promotions with minimal fuss or learning curve upfront.

Low Maintenance: With Basic, marketers can take a backseat approach as the platform autonomously handles campaign optimizations on their behalf once launched.

Cost Predictability: Through advanced algorithms and mechanisms, Apple Search Ads Basic aims qualified users at app listings in a cost-efficient manner while reliably respecting budget caps set by developers. This provides cost transparency and peace of mind for budgeting user acquisition.

Cons: Apple Search Ads Basic

Reduced Customization: In Basic, marketers lack targeting customization options and parameters compared to Advanced, constraining campaign control.

Narrow Placement Targeting: Only App Store search results ads are enabled, excluding synergistic opportunities across multiple placement types for boosting metrics.

Streamlined Analytics: Reporting capabilities remain at a base level versus Advanced’s deeper insights, challenging performance optimization efforts.

Less Testing Flexibility: Experimentation of unique targeting combinations, keywords, and creatives becomes limited versus Advanced for refining strategy.

Tight Budget/App Caps: Maximum 50 promoted apps and $10k/month per app impose rigid constraints preventing scaled efforts beyond Basic’s scope.

Pros: Apple Search Ads Advanced

Customization Power: Marketers gain enhanced controls like keyword targeting, audience segmentation, custom creative assets, and scheduling flexibility for hyper-focused promotions.

Actionable Insights: Comprehensive analytics offer granular metrics on metrics like impressions, conversions, revenue, and more for full performance visibility.

Leveraging All Ad Placements: All placement channels unlock the benefits of cross-channel campaigns to boost brand awareness and results across the entire user journey - from discovery to conversion.

Full Control: Through robust data and levers, UA professionals can continuously refine strategies based on real-world evidence for perpetual campaign evolution.

Total Keyword Management: Full keyword matching options from broad to exact ensure App Store searches align users with the most relevant apps to drive quality downloads.

No Budget/App Caps: Apple Search Ads Advanced imposes no artificial caps, empowering marketers to scale as ambition and opportunities allow.

Cons: Apple Search Ads Advanced

Setup Requirements: Advanced setup demands a more robust grasp of the platform and its assortment of levers, necessitating extra study compared to the Basic's simplified onboarding.

Management Requirements: The extensive customization levers of Advanced necessitate consistent diligence and expertise when overseeing complex campaigns at scale. Continuous performance tracking, testing, and best practice adoption are essential to extract full value.

Requirements for Expertise: While the Advanced solution model provides maximum promotion power, its amplified nuances conversely demand the allocation of ample resources and meticulous oversight by an Apple search expert.

The best Apple Search Ads solution for you

Choosing between the two platforms depends on your specific advertising goals, resources, and level of expertise. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

Who should prefer Apple Search Ads Basic?

Limited Experience? No problem.

Apple Search Ads Basic provides an excellent entry point for new app marketers. With Basic, Apple handles most of the campaign management which removes a lot of stress for those just getting started in user acquisition. The easy interface and automated features mean campaigns can be set up and run with minimal effort. This allows developers to focus on building their apps rather than learning complex advertising techniques from the beginning. Basic offers a gentle introduction to promoting apps without advanced customization settings.

As marketers gain experience over time, they are able to gradually improve their knowledge of campaigns while Basic continuously optimizes in the background. Developers can then progress their skills in lockstep with Apple paid search. Later on, if marketers desire more control, they have the option to upgrade to Advanced. But Apple Search Ads Basic provides a low-barrier onboarding that helps newbies ease into effective user acquisition through a simple, hands-off tool. Both experience and results can grow step-by-step when getting started with Basic.

Who should prefer Apple Search Ads Advanced?

If you need full control over your app marketing efforts…

Apple Search Ads Advanced provides more control, flexibility, and insights that are well-suited for a variety of advertisers. Those looking for greater oversight of their campaigns benefit from Advanced's customization options that empower precise alignment with unique marketing strategies. Whether goals involve engagement, acquisition, or retention, flexible targeting allows for meeting specific objectives. Advanced also works well for marketers running multiple app promotions through efficient allocation of resources across portfolios aided by performance reports.

Developers seeking nuanced performance views can equally gain from Advanced. The detailed analytics offer breakdowns at the keyword, group, region, and app level for comprehensive evaluation. Marketers managing complex campaigns requiring tailored approaches find Advanced equips necessary precision. Whether single or multi-app initiatives, Advanced cultivates sophisticated promotion through strategic optimization powered by robust data. Overall, Advanced thrives when versatility, control, and insights matter most for converting strategies to impact.

How does help?

While Apple Search Ads provides numerous opportunities to reach your potential audience, working with an Apple Search Ads Partner, such as, can help you maximize the performance of your campaigns. is an Apple Search Ads campaign management and optimization platform where advertisers can integrate their Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP), set goals to take bulk actions and create automation rules. The platform will help developers, advertisers, and agencies employ Apple Search Ads best practices and optimize the performance of their campaigns.

At, we have developed robust tips and strategies to help you achieve greater results utilizing Apple Search Ads.

One of our testimonials from one of our valued clients, Sabrina Chen, Head of User Acquisition at RecRoom, stated that working with and creating a strategy together with us enabled them to decrease their CPA by more than 45% within only five months. So, since there is huge potential to be discovered, if you follow the correct strategy, you can achieve very desirable results through Apple Search Ads.

So, how do we establish all of these?

Book a demo, pick a time, and meet with our Apple Search Ads experts!

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