Apple Search Ads Strategy & ASO: How DoorDash is Winning the Market

In this article, we went over how they built an Apple Search Ads strategy along with App Store Optimization to reach success.

Zehra Cetinel
May 27, 2021

Delivery apps, in the food and drink genre, have become more popular during the pandemic days. DoorDash, one of the biggest apps in the food and drink category is also one of those that reached the top of the charts. In this article, we went over how they built an Apple Search Ads strategy along with App Store Optimization to reach success.

According to MobileAction’s Market Intelligence data, DoorDash is the most downloaded app in its category in the USA which is followed by Uber Eats in the food and drink category in April 2021.

apple search ads strategy market intelligence

When we look at the top charts, it is clear that DoorDash is keeping its place in the top food and drink apps as number one.

apple search ads strategy top charts

The success of DoorDash is obvious, but it is not a coincidence. Now let’s check how DoorDash uses App Store Optimization and Apple Search Ads to generate these great results.

How DoorDash Leverages App Store Optimization?

To rank organically high in the search results, App Store Optimization is crucial. To understand DoorDash’s App Store Optimization strategy, let’s dive into the data provided by MobileAction. Since DoorDash’s main audience is located in the USA, we will be taking the USA as the focus of our analyses.

Initially, let's check the ASO performance of DoorDash from MobileAction’s ASO Report.

The ranking distribution graph shows the last two months’ ranking versus visibility score for DoorDash. The blue symbols at the bottom of the graph show app updates. 

Even though there are two downs in ranking distributions both in Postmates’ and DoorDash’s graphs, on average DoorDash is ranking number one for over 500 words organically whereas Postmates is ranking only for 106 words as number one. The thing which is interesting is that DoorDash has made 36 app updates in the last three months. This is quite high when we compare it with Postmates, which made 13 app updates in the same time interval. If an app releases many updates, it may mean that they’re fixing bugs. But, if they are making some changes like adding new keywords or changing descriptions, they also might be optimizing their page to rank higher organically. 

Organic Health & Rankings

DoorDash is ranking in the top 10 for the 1131 words where Postmates is ranking 891 keywords which is much less than DoorDash. In addition to that, we can see that DoorDash is ranking for 3 of its brand keywords where they are ranking for 63 brand keywords, this can be shown in the graph below.

When we look at the Keyword Intelligence of MobileAction, we see that DoorDash is getting the most downloads from its brand keywords as well as their competitor keywords including “grubhub”, “uber eats”, “postmates” and “mcdonalds app”. 

The visibility graph of DoorDash compared with one of its biggest competitors, Postmates, shows that DoorDash is more visible in countries like the USA and Australia whereas Postmates is more popular in Russia and Brazil. 

When we take Spain and examine app store pages of both DoorDash and Postmates, we can see that DoorDash has modified both its subtitle and description with respect to the Spanish Market, but Postmates have used the same page they use in the USA.

As a result of this, DoorDash is more visible in the Spanish market than Postmates, so it has a higher visibility score.

Having a great App Store Optimization strategy is not the only milestone when we look at the success of DoorDash, Apple Search Ads is also important for DoorDash especially in the market of North America. So to see the whole puzzle, we also need to check out DoorDash’s Apple Search Ads Strategy.

DoorDash Apple Search Ads Strategy

DoorDash is currently active in 2 countries, which are the United States and Canada. According to the information taken from SearchAds Intelligence of MobileAction, especially in the USA DoorDash has an aggressive campaign with over 14,000 Apple keywords. 

With no surprise, when we check the organic visibility score of DoorDash, we see that the top two countries are the ones where DoorDash is using Apple Search Ads as a paid advertising channel.

apple search ads strategy countries

The relationship between Apple Search Ads and App Store Optimization is crucial as they contribute to each other’s success. Therefore, it is not surprising to see DoorDash, as a top chart crashing app, using both Apple Search Ads and ASO in their strategies. 

Thus, DoorDash is using Apple Search Ads to contribute to their App Store success. They bid on their brand keywords as well as competitor keywords not to lose their impression and to share competitor impressions as well.


Doordash is getting almost 95% of the total impressions coming from the keyword ‘uber eats’ for Apple Search Ads which is a great number. 

apple search ads strategy keywords

A similar scenario counts for Postmates as well, for the “postmates” keyword, DoorDash is getting 73% of the impression while Postmates is getting only 5%.

apple search ads strategy post mates

Generic Keywords

DoorDash is getting advantage of the brand keywords; both for competitor brands and their own DoorDash brand. However, brand keywords are not the only source for user acquisition. 

Generic keywords, captured mainly by discovery campaigns are taking a crucial part in the success. In DoorDash’s case, we can see that DoorDash is bidding on keywords that are generic. They are bidding on keywords like “favorite video”, “kelp”, “enchiladas”, and “dashr” and at the moment they are getting the whole impression. Some of those keywords are not related but as we can see from “enchiladas” they also target food related keywords as people may search for the food rather than the app in the app store to find a way to order that food.

apple search ads strategy food apps

Build Your Own Apple Search Ads Strategy

DoorDash’s strategy has resulted in great success and it seems that they deserve to hit the top charts for another decade. In the meanwhile, you can book a call with our experts and strengthen your mobile marketing strategy by leveraging Apple Search Ads. 

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