Since Apple’s introduction of Search Ads last year, organizations with a mobile app are embracing Search Ads to improve their app’s conversion rate to become more discoverable in the App Store.
Search Ads are created using an app’s store listing, including an app’s metadata and creative. While all the metadata is important for visibility, the creatives (icon, screenshots, and video), need to be visually appealing and relevant to users to improve conversion. Search Ads can only be effective and convert users if the creatives are relevant and clearly demonstrate the app’s core features.
For Search Ads to be effective, it is crucial for marketers and developers to incorporate an App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy to optimize their app’s metadata and creatives to contain high-volume keywords and relevant images based on real mobile data of user’s search trends and behavior in the app store.
Where Do You Start?
ASO is the necessary foundation to making sure an app’s Search Ads are relevant and appealing to the audience for the app to become more discoverable. Before an organization dives into creating an ASO strategy, it is pertinent that they look at the current app market and analyze their competitors and understand how users search.
By evaluating competitors and understanding how users are searching in the App Store, marketing and development teams can have a guide on how to improve their App Store listing. Users tend to search with popular terms associated to specific apps, features or categories. For the most part, targeted keywords have already been determined, but after evaluating competitors and user trends, those keywords can be adjusted to generate more visibility.
Developers need to know which keywords would be most relevant to their app and target those terms. The keywords need to be closely tied to the app’s core features that are unique to the app to target its audience. Track user trends to make sure the keywords are related to what the audience wants in an app. Keep in mind, Search Ads are based off how relevant an app is to a specific term.
App developers also have the option to bid on keywords so their app will appear more frequently in user searches. Regardless of a developer having the highest bid on a keyword, Apple still ranks apps by relevancy. If the Search Ad is not relevant to the user’s search, it will not appear at the top of the App Store.
Search Ad Variations
Apple uses an app’s store listing, metadata and imagery to create its Search Ads. While developers are somewhat limited on what content goes into the Search Ads, they can at least choose how Search Ads will appear to users on the App Store.
Search Ads will appear in one of two forms:
- Icon plus first two lines of App Store description
- Icon plus screenshots and preview video (if applicable)
Search Ads can also appear in either portrait or landscape depending on the orientation of the current screenshots and preview video.
The only way that developers can make their app listing more relevant to user searches is by improving their app’s discoverability with ASO. The creatives, which include the icon, screenshots, and preview video, need to show how the app naturally appears to a better answer with its features.
One of the key aspects of ASO is creative optimization, which is an essential part of improving conversion. Here are easy tips based off ASO best practices that will help developers streamline their creative optimization to improve conversion.
An app’s screenshots should be thought of as advertising banners that use high-volume keywords to be relevant in user searches. Screenshots need to clearly display an app’s core features and should be uncluttered. Developers and marketers need to make sure their screenshots are legible—if screenshots are too confusing, they are less likely to convert users.
When an app preview video is used, it takes the place of a screenshot but holds the same level of importance to conversion. Many developers forget that the preview video is presented as a still image, otherwise known as a poster frame. On Search Ads, this means the poster frame cannot be a random image that holds no relevance to the app. Instead, developers should be careful and make sure the poster frame contains high-volume keywords and an image that represents the app’s core features.
The app icon needs to be polished and unique to stand out among competitors. If the app icon is not memorable, regardless of showing up in a Search Ad, users are less likely to convert. Some marketers and developers use their brand logo or a memorable character to retain user attention. While this strategy works, the icon also needs to demonstrate the app’s core features and be void of confusion like the screenshots.
Organizations looking to become more discoverable with Search Ads need to improve their app’s metadata and creatives with ASO prior to using Search Ads. Since the keywords that appear in App Store listing will be used for the Search Ad. Make sure that the app’s creatives are clean, clearly demonstrate the app’s core features and the icon, screenshots, and preview video contain high-volume keywords that are relevant not only to the app but to the target audience. The only way an app will become visible through Search Ads is by being relevant first.