Apple Search Ads Basic VS Advanced

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

Claire McIntosh
February 3, 2021

Apple Search Ads Basic and Advanced… What’s the difference anyway? Which one should you choose? The first question you need to ask yourself is this: Do you work with apps on the App Store?  Apple Search Ads is a tool for advertising your app on the App Store. So if you are a marketer, developer or in charge of advertising your app in any way, Apple Search Ads may be a good solution for you.  

What is Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads will allow you to significantly increase your visibility on the App Store. This works as an auction. Relevance is rewarded. If your Metadata such as your title and description line up with a search it has a higher chance of being shown to the potential user. Relevance is also determined by the customer’s choice. This means that if your app is showing up but not getting tapped on, it will be deemed less relevant and therefore less likely to be shown. The highest bidder on a keyword with the most relevance to the searcher will have their app appear in blue at the top of the search results.

This can be a powerful tool, provided that you bid intelligently on keywords relevant to your audience and your brand. You will need to put some time into your ASO strategy and the consistent optimization of your campaigns if you want this tool to be useful to you. 

What if you are already achieving a high placement in the App Store search results?

You should not write off Apple Search Ads just because you are already receiving top search results for your brand name. Firstly, there may be other keywords that you could bid on to get to the top of people’s search results that you have not yet thought of. Apple Search Ads has a keyword suggestion feature that can recommend these words to you. Additionally, you should bid on your own high ranking keywords in order to protect them from competitors. There is nothing stopping your competitors from bidding on your highest ranking keywords or even your app name if you are not there to offer a competing bid. 

Before you start

So you have decided to get a jump on your competition with Apple Search Ads. You are eager to get bidding on keywords and grow your app’s user base but as you are signing up you see the option of Basic and Advanced. How do you make the choice?

Apple Search Ads (Basic and Advanced) may be the right choice for you if you already have an app on the App Store. In order to proceed with Basic, you need to have your app live and ready to purchase or download. You also need to make sure that you have Apple Search Ads available in your country and region. 

Make sure that you have an Apple ID and valid email address. You cannot sign up with an Apple ID that is only connected to your mobile phone. 

Apple Search Ads Basic

Apple Search Ads Basic is a more automated version of Apple Search Ads. It requires less time and effort on the developer’s part. It automatically matches your ad to interested users of your app. All you have to do is set a cost and then the program does the rest. With Basic, you pay for installs at the cost of your choice. Of course, Apple Search Ads is still an auction so if you pick a cost too low it may not get you as many results. 

There is no need for keywords or audience adjustments based on demographics. If you are an indie app that does not have the manpower to assign a lot of time to Apple Search Ads optimisation, this might be a good option. 

The ongoing management is minimal and you can check how your app is performing a couple of times a month. If you are not seeing the results you want you can always adjust your CPI. Apple Search Ads will provide you with a recommendation. You will have access to a quick-view dashboard to track the performance of your ad. 

You have a maximum budget of $10,000 per app, per month, and can promote up to 50 apps at one time.

Apple Search Ads Advanced

The Apple Search Ads Advanced gives you full access to your audiences and the max bid you want to make. With Advanced, you can choose keywords and audiences and you pay per tap on your ad rather than install. Advanced is ideal for developers or agencies who want more control of their campaigns. There is also no maximum budget.

On this version, you also choose your bid amount and have access to apple search ads suggested prices. You will be able to access a comprehensive report of all your key metrics. 

Advanced also lets you manage APIs. API stands for “application program interface.” This is a technical development environment. You can build software to manage your campaigns with the API. Additionally, you can manage ad groups, and keywords. This way advertisers or third parties can adeptly control their more sizable Apple Search Ads accounts and campaigns. You can measure value and manage at scale with APIs with Apple Search Ads Advanced.

Your maximum monthly budget is also unlimited and you can promote an unlimited number of apps. 

Can I use both Apple Search Ads Basic and Advanced

Though you may want to have the autopilot running while optimizing when you can find the time, this is not a recommended solution. It is possible to use Apple Search Ads Basic and Apple Search Ads Advanced simultaneously. However, if you are using both options for the same application, be cautious. All actions made in your Apple Search Ads Advanced campaigns will not transfer to Apple Search Ads Basic.

Therefore, it is meaningless to run both Basic and Advanced at one time. There is also no minimum spend point for Apple Search Ads Advanced. This means that if you have the time to run a campaign, you should consider using Advanced. 

Apple Search Ads Advanced has many advantages. You can experience a lot of benefits from selecting your own, personalized keywords.  Though it may seem like a daunting task it is well worth your time to be able to adjust your ASO strategy. Running ads on the wrong keywords won't get you downloads. Additionally, it will hurt your financial resources and UA strategy. Even if someone downloads from those keywords, they are likely to uninstall the app as it is not what they were looking for.

Apple Search Ads Advanced may sound intimidating, at first. But Don’t worry! There are a few things you can do to help yourself out. Firstly, Apple Search Ads includes many resources on their website to help you along as you are just starting out, such as Advanced Help and Success Stories. They also provide Apple Search Ads Certification which you can take for free online in order to fast-track your Apple Search Ads Advanced expertise.

We are a proud partner with Apple Search Ads. works closely with them to help provide you with the highest level of support and expertise. We also implement the latest technical integrations available with Apple Search Ads Advanced. Therefore, you can use a campaign management tool such as ours ( to scale your campaigns more easily. This tool can be very helpful in organizing and simplifying your Apple Search Ads experience. It allows you to easily integrate your Apple Search Ads account. From there, you can see everything on one dashboard. We also integrate mobile measurement provider data. Everything is conveniently at one location. Campaign management platforms can reduce your workload so you can focus on developing strategy. This will help reduce the time commitment required by Advanced while still maintaining all of its benefits. You can move all your campaigns to this campaign management tool.

Especially if you do not have previous Apple Search Ads knowledge, the process of setting up an Advanced campaign can appear overwhelming. With the help of, your entire user acquisition funnel can be easily tracked. You can see it along with other crucial metrics such as ROAS, ARPU, CPI, and revenue all side by side. You will also see exactly how much you spend and what you get in return. We have everything compiled on one dashboard.

We at, have an Ultimate Apple Search Ads Course that covers all things Apple Search Ads. This course will equip you with the right knowledge to get started. For in-person help, you can schedule a demo with our advisors for Apple Search Ads and ask all your questions to optimize your campaigns.

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