Creating a Value-Based Account Structure for Apple Search Ads

We would like to keep you updated on the Apple Search Ads best practices. In this article you can find how to create a value-based account structure for Apple Search Ads.

Claire McIntosh
February 15, 2021

When it comes to Apple Search Ads, building a structure is half the work! We would like to keep you updated on the Apple Search Ads best practices. And we want to make sure you have all the sources at your disposal to boost your growth in this channel.

You may have been hearing this term floating around “Value-Based Account Structure”... But what does it really mean? There are many ways to structure an Apple Search Ads account. How can you create a Value-based structure and why should you? Don’t worry! We, at, are here to walk you through the process and exactly what it entails.

If you have any other questions about your Apple Search Ads account, like whether to use Apple Search Ads Basic or Advanced, we can definitely help you out. We try to keep all of our readers informed about all the aspects of Apple Search Ads. Subscribe to our Apple Search Ads blog for weekly tips and tricks to make the most out of Apple Search Ads. 

What does value mean in this context?

When we are talking about account structure, we should think about who our potential app users are. You want to make your app the most visible to the people who want your app the most. 

For example, if you have a Pizza delivery app, you may have the following groups of people:

  1. Users looking for a Pizza making game
  2. Users who are in your city for a weekend trip and want to order pizza
  3. Users who live in your city and are trying out different kinds of pizza
  4. Users who are already regular customers of your store and want to get a pizza every Friday

The first group of people may click on your app, see the description and immediately delete the app off their phone. The second group may use your application once and immediately delete it. The third user may use your app a couple of times and either keep it but let it lay dormant most of the time or eventually delete it. The last type of user may use your app regularly and even recommend it to their friends or download it on multiple devices.

These different types of users would be assigned different values. We can assign them a value number that we will call a LifeTime Value or LTV. You want to allocate the most resources to the fourth group of users, the second most to the third, the third most to the second, and so on.

What is a Value-Based Account structure?

Now that we have identified value in this context, how can we make it work to our advantage? You may not be able to accurately predict every search term that your most engaged users would search. You cannot put yourself in the shoes of potentially millions of people! Luckily, you don’t have to! This account structure is a way to take out the guesswork from this process. You will create categories (or a structure) for your Apple Search Ads account. Your categories can be called Tiers. 

A Value-Based account structure has to do with putting emphasis on some campaigns over others. Each campaign can be filled with keywords that target a specific type of user. In other words, in this type of campaign, you should put more effort towards the groups of keywords that bring you the most ROI.

Firstly, we need to figure out what benefits we get at each level of the campaign. What are the account components within Apple Search Ads?

How to structure Value-Based Campaigns

You are the one in charge of your campaign budget!  You always want to achieve the best possible results for your spending. It sounds obvious, but this is central to this Value-based account structure.

Once you set a budget, you can continue to optimize it and update it as time goes on and contributing factors change.

It is in your best interest to put more of your budget towards areas that will get you more return. That means that you should be targeting keywords that bring you the most value on the individual level and on the types of users they attract. 

For example, if the word “pizza party” is getting you 40 users and the word “Pizza in NY city” is getting you 40 as well, that does not necessarily mean they are equal. Perhaps the users who search “Pizza in NY city” are more likely to get a paid subscription, order a pizza or download the app on multiple devices.


Campaign Names

Your brand campaign is keywords directly related to your brand. This is your app name and slight variations of it. You then have your value-based Tiers. Gold Tier being first placed, highest value, and then the rest falling underneath. 

You can really name your Tiers however you wish. The contents of them are what's important. Most of your available budget that is still getting you an ROI should be allocated towards the highest valued tier and so on. 

How to structure Value-Based Ad groups?

Within your campaigns, you can decide your ad groups! You have control over your cost per acquisition (CPA). Your different ad groups can have different CPAs. You can also apply Apple Search Ads targeting. You can, for example, target specific devices, times of day, location, gender, and so on. 

This is great. If for example, people aged 30+ are searching the term “Pizza Party” looking to supply a party with many pizzas, while a younger demographic is searching for a game by the same name, an age filter could be used to make sure you are targeting those high-value users.


You can also use negative keywords at the campaign level and at the ad group level in order to ensure you are not doubling up on words and bidding against yourself, or targeting a keyword that is not getting you any results. So this “Pizza Party” search cannot be removed because it is getting you high LTV users, however, lots of traffic from this game is getting you empty clicks. You could put “Pizza Party Game” as a negative keyword so that people searching that term are directed away from your application. 

How to find Value-Based Keywords

At the keyword level, you specifically control the bid on each keyword. Remember that your CPA goal does take precedence over the cost per tap (CPT) that you set at the keyword level. 

When you use this value-based account structure for Apple Search Ads you make sure to take full advantage of each level’s benefits.

The recommended structure should have:

  1. Brand campaign: This is where you can use the largest proportion of your budget. These users are giving you the most return on your investment. This should be the biggest proportion of the budget you can spend where you are acquiring high-value users. Keep in mind that at a certain point, you may be getting as many users as you can from these keywords, so the key is not to just pour whatever funds you have available into this campaign. Rather, you should make sure that you are winning the bids as often as possible on these keywords because they are the most lucrative for you.
  2. Discovery campaign: This is where you use Search Match and broad match. You will use these features to find new keywords. You can also find new variations that you don’t have in your Gold Tier (prioritized group). If like earlier, the term “Pizza NY” is getting you a lot of high-value users, perhaps you will find from your discovery campaign that the term “Pizza New York” or “NY Pizza” might be getting a fair amount of traffic as well. If they are doing as well as the original term, you can include them in your Gold tier, otherwise, you can place them in their appropriate tier.
  3. The subsequent Tiers: These are where you will place the other keywords. This is what separates the value-based Apple Search Ads account structure from other structures. Keywords should be placed into tiered campaigns established by their lifetime value.

Make sure to correctly use match types. You should ensure that you are using Exact Match in your Tier campaigns and your Brand campaign. Your Discovery campaign should be the only one that has any other match type than Exact Match. Also, make sure that you are using negative keywords.

Grouping Keywords within Value-Based Apple Search Ads Account Structure

As we discussed earlier, we want to fill our Gold Tier with keywords that bring in high LTV users. The keywords in Tier 1 should have the higher bids. This is so that you can remain competitive enough to give you the most impressions possible from the users who bring the most value. From that point on you will have a Silver, Bronze, etc. 

Your Discovery Campaign

Your Discovery campaign should be comparable to Silver or Gold campaign bids. You may be inclined to allocate the least budget to this campaign, but in reality that would render the campaign useless. 

You want to attract those Gold Tier users who love ordering Pizza, but so do your competitors. Therefore to find useful keywords for your campaigns, you need to have a high enough budget for discovering them. 

You are paying a cost per tap rate so you will not pay for the words you do not get taps on. If you are finding very few keywords, this may be because you are bidding too low. After all, your budget for the keywords will be that of Gold or Silver Tier. When you find them and add them to a list.  

Remember to continuously transfer the search terms you find into their appropriate campaigns. You should base these transfers on their TTR/CR/CPA. Your discovery campaign budget will eventually decline as you have found all the relevant keywords. Apple Search Ads automation will help you do this more efficiently. You can use our tools to automate search terms. 

Of course, you cannot forget about it altogether. New keywords become relevant over time and other keywords may lose relevance. Apps and brand names specifically are often some of the highest-ranking keywords. As there are always new apps being added to the store, you must keep an eye out for new keywords. Out of app events like seasonal increases in searches or popular media, events may also influence what keywords are bringing you value. Therefore, it is good to keep an eye on your discovery campaign. However, this will become about maintenance as you go on.

Consider a Probing/Proxy Campaign

You can also have a Probing/Proxy campaign. This can include the terms you discover in your Discovery Campaign. You can turn  Exact Match on for these keywords. Then with the help of your Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP), you can measure the conversion rate to subscription/purchase. 

If you want an easy way to organize all of this you can turn to We consolidate all of the information from your campaigns and your MMP on one dashboard, increasing efficiency. We are an official partner of Apple Search Ads and all of their data is integrated into our platform. 

How to Decide Which Tier Keywords Belong to?

You can either make an educated guess or apply a Probing/Proxy campaign:

  1. Educated guess: in this case, you will base your keyword placement on your personal experience and your gut feeling surrounding the keywords. This is a less precise method, but you may find it sufficient if you are very familiar with the process. You will look at the performance of the keywords in your discovery campaign and make a placement from there. 
  2. Probing/Proxy campaign: This approach requires testing and reevaluation of the keywords that you have found in your discovery campaign. You can see what their downstream performance is like using MMPs. This approach is more time-consuming and more costly but it will also give you more precise data. 

Your Proxy campaign will contain the words that you have uncovered in your discovery campaign. You will take these words, add them to the negative keywords list on your Discovery Campaign, and then add them as an Exact match keyword to your proxy campaign. Then you will collect data from these keywords, and once you have determined their performance value, you can move them into the appropriate Tier. 

How to decide on your budgets?

There are two different routes to take in order to define your Keyword Budgets:

  1. You can either start with a high budget and work your way down as long as you are getting the traffic you want.
  2. Start low and slowly increase until your traffic volume growth (how many new installs you are getting) plateaus.


The most important thing in this Value-Based Account Structure is to dedicate most of your funds to your Gold Tier and have the rest flow downwards. This account structure can be very beneficial, but it is also time-consuming compared to others as you have to continuously calculate the correct proportions of your budget you should be putting towards each tier and optimizing fairly regularly. can be a great tool to help you stay organized throughout the process. You can learn more about account structuring in our free Apple Search Ads Course. You can also get started for free with

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