Apple Search Ads: How Can Gaming Apps Utilize It?

It’s no surprise that the Mobile Game business is booming with new companies entering and recent acquisitions. So how can gaming apps utilize Apple Search Ads to boost growth?

Gizem Bugdayci
May 25, 2021

No matter if you're a hardcore gamer or an occasional player, one thing is for sure: We're lovin' games even more since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s no surprise that the Mobile Game business is booming with new companies entering and recent acquisitions. So how can gaming apps utilize Apple Search Ads to boost growth?

Well, there are multiple UA channels for the game companies to promote their apps. They can promote their apps on any of them they think are effective. But targeting is more difficult on other channels as the IDFA deprecation made it more difficult. In Apple Search Ads, users already have high intention to download the app, that's why you're able to target more engaged users at the platform where they're ready to download the app.

Why should you promote your game on Apple Search Ads?

Apple Search Ads becomes a salient choice as it is one of the most effective channels to gain qualified users specifically for the game apps. The reason for this is that the users have a higher intention to download an app if they're in the App Store. According to Apple Search Ads, %70 of users use the search on App Store, and %65 of the downloads coming from iOS occurs after users’ research.

Imagine, you have a game app and you are not running Apple Search Ads, but your competitor does. It also bids on your brand keyword, so your potential users would be coming across their ad on the top of the search results once they are searching your game. They would probably download the first app they see, so it doesn’t make any sense for you to rank organically once you lose such users. Would you really ignore those users? 

There are various genres of games, like hyper casuals, mid cores, casino, and card games, etc. They all have different kinds of Apple Search Ads strategies. In this article, we are going to dive into the details of the top 3 game apps in the US. We've chosen to analyze their Apple Search Ads optimization strategies CSR 2 Multiplayer Racing Game, Bingo Clash: win real cash, Tiles Hop - EDM Rush! We chose these apps because they have relatively high Search Ads visibility scores.

search ads visibility

1- CSR 2 Multiplayer Racing Game

apple search ads csr racing

First of all, let us remind you of the meanings of the important terms here:

  • Active Countries: The countries they are actively running Apple Search Ads.
  • Total Paid Keywords: Total number of the keywords they are bidding on in the selected country.
  • Search Ads Visibility Score: It is calculated by using impression shares of an app on each keyword with their popularity score. It’s calculated weekly and scaled with the highest score of the week (out of 100).
  • Visibility Score: How visible the app is according to organic impressions.
  • Organic Keyword Rank: The app’s organic ranking for the keyword.
  • Popularity: The number of times a keyword is searched for in the App Store.
  • Total Apps: Total number of apps ranking organically with the keyword.

CSR 2 Multiplayer Racing Game is actively running Apple Search Ads in 8 different countries with more than 5K paid keywords in the US.

We set the impression share between 60 and 100 to see what keywords bring them satisfying impressions so the direct competitors of this app would try running ads on these keywords with a right amount of bid by strengthening their ASO strategies then see if they are getting a good amount of impressions. 

Getting more impressions doesn’t necessarily mean that these keywords help you gain users though, although it increases the possibility. The most common mistake made by Apple Search Ads advertisers is that they ignore the lower funnel. Meanwhile, they focus much more on the higher-end of the funnel.

Let’s clarify what we mean with an example:“racing games” keyword brings %77.4 impressions to the app while the “hot wheels” keyword” brings %66. You might think that racing games is a better keyword to bid on. However, once you take a look at your funnel, it might not bring you installs or purchase and the “hot wheels” keyword might bring you less impressions but more installs. 

You should consider your whole user acquisition funnel while optimizing your campaigns. With the help of’s funnel feature, you can easily take a look at your funnel by customizing your view, then start optimizing accordingly so you won't be missing any highlights in every kind of ad layer.

apple search ads funnel tracking

2- Bingo Clash: Win Real Cash

bingo clash apple search ads

Bingo Clash: win real cash is actively running Apple Search Ads in the US with more than 29K paid keywords.

They are running tons of keywords but there must be some keywords that they have been running ads on but are not that well-performing and not getting satisfying impressions. This time, we set the impression share between 0 and 10 to see what these keywords are.

If your impressions are low for the keywords you have been ranking, there might be a couple of reasons. You might have a low bid amount, your ASO relevancy to these keywords may be low or the keywords might be irrelevant with your game. 

Some actions can be taken to fix this problem. You don’t need to take action on these keywords one by one, you can easily set an automation rule on such keywords to avoid wasting money and time.

Let’s say these keywords are relevant and important to you, you should:

  1. Increase your bid by setting an automation rule saying: If your impression today is 20% lower than yesterday's impression, then increase the bid by 10%. 
apple search ads automation

2.Strengthen these keywords with your ASO strategy: Use these keywords in your metadata, title, subtitle and in your App Store connect keyword list

Reminder: If you are not ranking high organically for any keyword, it would be too optimistic to be found relevant for this keyword according to Apple’s algorithm. So giving a high amount of bids  wouldn’t be the only metric for you to rank, ASO strength for this keyword is another crucial factor.

3- Tiles Hop - EDM Rush

tiles hop apple search ads

Tiles Hop - EDM Rush is actively running Apple Search Ads in 25 countries with more than 19K paid keywords in the US.

Let’s get started with analyzing their brand keyword “tiles hop adm rush”. There are 51 apps ranking with this keyword and 12 apps bidding on this keyword by getting impressions. Tiles Hop EDM Rush is ranking as 1st both organically and paid with this keyword. This is a good example of having a balanced ASO and Apple Search Ads strategy.

Let’s dive into their ASO and Apple Search Ads strategies to see if they are really keeping them in balance. We set the impression share between 70 and 100 to see what keywords get satisfying impressions.

“Music run” keyword brings them 73.1% impression, while “hop music” does 90.7% and  “music jumping” 74.1%.

As you can see in the table below, Tiles Hop - EDM Rush also uses these keywords in their ASO strategy. And these keywords are ranking in the top 10 organically.

Using for Scaling Apple Search Ads

  1. Keep up with the keyword trends in your category by looking at your competitors’ both Apple Search Ads keyword strategies and App Store Optimization strategies.
  2. Keep an eye on your User Acquisition Funnel. See what keywords bring you your goals, as well as customize your funnel according to the data you would like to track.
  3. Automate every kind of daily activity while managing your Apple Search Ads activities to save time and budget.

Collaborate with a dedicated account manager who is specialized in the game category, from any specific genre. If you would like to know more about their best practices in the game category, don’t forget to schedule a demo with us!

Contact Us

Ready to revolutionize your app downloads, boost user retention, and achieve consistent performance in all ad placements?
Book a Demo
Recent Blog Posts
See All