Growing Your E-Commerce App with Apple Search Ads

In today’s post, we are going to discuss the shift in the App Store advertising due to the App Tracking Transparency framework.

Talip Sencan
September 10, 2021

How are you all mobile marketers doing? Especially after the deprecation of IDFA, we assume that some things are getting a little higher than usual. And by things, we mean CPAs. In today’s post, we are going to discuss the shift in the App Store advertising due to the App Tracking Transparency framework. And we are going to show why Apple Search Ads is getting more and more popular amongst e-commerce apps.

Let’s first start with the change in CPAs. From the moment of the loss of the ability to track user behaviors to now, the average CPA increased drastically. As marketers don't have as much information about users as before, this jump is pretty normal. 

As you can see above in our Apple Search Ads Benchmarks Dashboard, the average CPA for Shopping apps is $3.23. We can also see that shopping apps have pretty good TTRs and CRs which are %8.43 and 70% respectively.

Right now, Apple Search Ads appears to be one of the best channels for user acquisition when it comes to e-commerce apps. This claim is also supported by the significant increase in the spend of shopping apps through in the past year. As more people realize the advantages of Apple Search Ads, the competition and focus are increasing on this channel.

How about your metrics? Are they close to the industry standards? You know, when it comes to App Store advertising, tracking is half of the job. We are tracking keywords and our competitors all the time but why stop there? Why don't we track the whole industry to compare and evaluate our performance against the benchmarks? 

Alongside tracking CRs and CPAs, allow me to introduce you to another benchmark. The benchmark of running Apple Search Ads or not. Or in other words, the benchmark of being successful or not. Let’s check out the top advertisers for confirmation. 

app store advertising

Above, you can see the top advertisers in the US for the shopping category. All of them are benefiting from Apple Search Ads except for Verishop. Some benefit more and some benefit less. 

Want to see some examples of how a paid mobile user acquisition should be? Let’s check it out. 

Apple Search Ads: The Efficient way of App Store Advertising

SHEIN - Online Fashion

If you are into fashion and shopping, you must have heard about SHEIN. Because, alongside their wide range of products, they are a shining light when it comes to advertising. Especially in the app store advertising. 

SHEIN is bidding on 7329 keywords in the U.S to get a special place in the App Store. Their visibility score being 80 means that they are getting high impression shares in popular keywords. In other words, if you write something related to fashion or online shopping, SHEIN will probably wink at you, from the top of the search results.  They are currently running Apple Search Ads in 34 different countries.

app store advertising
Localized Keywords

If you are going to reach out to people from various nationalities, you should have an Apple Search Ads strategy that is aligned with this ambition. As you can see above, SHEIN is benefiting from localization on its paid keywords to address these kinds of users.

app store advertising
Competitors' Brand Keywords

We cannot talk about aggressive marketing if you are not bidding on your competitors’ brand keywords, can we? 

SHEIN does not only bid on their competitors’ brand keywords, but also they are absolutely dominating the impression shares. If you are not running Apple Search Ads for your brand, someone else will. Meaning, Apple Search Ads is not only important for getting more users, but also for building a strong brand presence.

app store advertising
Brand Keywords of SHEIN

Being aggressive is good but you should not forget your own brand. SHEIN never leaves its brand keywords defenseless, neither should you.

app store advertising
Search By Keyword Tool

Lastly, find relevant keywords that have high search volumes to increase your downloads. Our Search by Keyword tool might help. SHEIN, although it isn't organically ranking at the top for the keyword “Shop”, they are getting three fourth of the share.

As exemplified by SHEIN, this is how a complete paid mobile acquisition strategy should be. 

  • Defend your brand keywords
  • Claim a share in brand keywords of your competitors
  • Localize your keywords
  • Get popular and relevant keywords into your selections

Now, let’s see if we can top this performance.    

Klarna - Shop Now. Pay Later

As you can see, Klarna has a better score for Search Ads Visibility. Moreover, They are bidding on 8k more keywords than SHEIN. Also, being active in 14 countries is not bad at all, right? It seems we found a match for SHEIN’s marketing efforts.

But, let’s dive deeper into the app store advertising efforts of Klarna before we make a decision.

app store advertising
Brand Keywords of Klarna

As you can see, Klarna is also preserving its brand keywords even though they are organically ranking at the number one spot for these keywords. This is the first rule of Apple Search Ads optimization. If you do not want your competitors to steal your impressions, you need to defend your brand keywords.

The Second rule, as you would remember, is claiming a share in your competitors' soils. 

app store advertising
Competitors' Brand Keywords

Above, you can see that Klarna applies this rule to its Apple Search Ads strategies. However, the question is: 

Are these shares satisfying?

The numbers can definitely go up, right?

There is a wide range of apps that compete for these brand keywords. Meaning that the bid levels are probably high due to tough competition. 

Therefore, increasing bid levels to increase impressions might be a good idea to get more views. When you have campaigns that are in different countries with many ad groups and thousands of keywords, optimizing your bids continuously can be a time-consuming task. .

However, with our Apple Search Ads Automation tool, you can create automation rules such as increasing the bid level by a certain amount for a specific ad group. By doing so, you can save time and boost your app growth.

Another aspect is that Klarna is bidding on these kinds of keywords that are not truly reflecting the purpose of an eCommerce app. Yes, these are popular keywords but when they are not relevant to your app, they will come back to you as low tap-through rates. 

Remember, we started this post by saying CPAs are getting high due to the deprecation of IDFA. Apple Search Ads is giving you the opportunity to reach out to the right audience at the right time. Benefit from it in the best way you can.  

And this brings us to the third rule of Apple Search Ads optimization: A thousand relevant keywords can be better than two thousand irrelevant keywords. And, in order to find these keywords, discovery campaigns might be a good idea.

In this way, you can find new, relevant and popular keywords that you may not find with bare assumptions. Also tracking your competitors' keywords with our Search Ads Intelligence tool can also make this process easier.

Since we talked about so many rules, I cannot help but make a reference to Fight Club. You probably remember the first rule of Fight Club and know that we broke it just now. 

But, remember, your app is not "fight club". You should always talk about it. Always and always. Schedule a demo with our experts now, and take your app store marketing to the next level! 

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