Apple’s App Store is the second largest app store in the world, with roughly 2 million apps available for download. It follows second only to Android-based apps, which boasts 2.2 million in its store.
Given some predictions that the app market will surge to $101 billion by 2020, anyone seeking to obtain more users and downloads of their app would be wise to consider Apple’s new search ads. These new App Store search ads promise to target users with a power equal to that of the major search engines, and to help companies increase their app downloads and sales.
The App Store buzz
More From Entrepreneur.com
Apple initially sparked buzz around the changes being made to its app store by announcing two policy changes which opened app developers up to a whole new world of potential.
First, the company said it will reward app creators who retain customers more than a year: The company will do this through digital subscriptions by dropping Apple’s cut of its revenues by 15 percent. In other words, if you, the developer, are good at what you do, Apple wants to reward you, because it’s in the company's best interest to have happy, satisfied app store customers.
The second big change is that all categories, not just a few, will now be open to the subscription model. This was a huge change -- especially for the gaming world -- creating great profit potential for app developers and the companies behind them.
Both of these changes are intended to get more users into the App Store, and to get more apps into the hands of users, with more profits returning to app developers who create apps people never tire of. It’s great news for customers, developers and Apple alike.
App Store ads: now playing near you
The next big change in policy Apple made is around its Apple App Store ads: The company will now display search ads for apps in the iOS App Store search results.
If you’re used to using Google AdWords, the look and feel of the ads will seem very familiar, as will the back-end panel you’ll use to set up and create your ads and campaigns. It’s hard to improve on an already-solid model that customers are familiar with; and Apple seems to have no desire to reinvent the entire world of search ads.
Campaigns, ad groups and keywords can be organized on the dashboard, with ads displayed based on what users are searching for. You can set up your budget based on cost-per-tap (CPT) or cost-per-install (CPA).
As other search platforms do, Apple’s App Store search engine ads enable you to target customers based on specific information, such as location and languages spoken, in addition to targets like age, gender and device owned -- information that isn’t available on your typical search-engine advertising platform.
The bad news about the platform is that, as of right now, users can’t set up their own ads. Ads are generated based on the content you input into the system to create your apps. That’s why it’s critical to pay attention to the keywords you use when you create your app’s page and description, as well as all other meta data used to create your app’s page on the site.
Keep this in mind, too, if you’re running an App Store campaign: You may want to tweak your app-page copy to improve its download stats and to make it more appealing to browsers looking for an app in the search function. Because what you put into the description and title fields is what shows up on your ad, attention to detail counts.
Who should try App Store ads?
Companies that balked at the App Store’s “Apple Tax,” as Spotify dubbed Apple’s higher-than-average 30 percent fees on user subscriptions, may want to try App Store ads and placement once again. The change in fee structure, along with the move to open up categories for subscription models, is a powerful incentive for placing your apps back on the App Store or developing new ones for customers’ insatiable appetites for games, lifestyle content and social networks.
Customers eager to find their next gaming addiction are already searching the App Store for information. Placing ads which target potential customers right at a critical moment of interest and decision makes perfect sense. With their fingers poised, ready to install a new app, these customers are the ones most likely to respond to your ads. Few other advertising methods offer such a time-sensitive way of targeting advertising during the portion of the buying cycle where customers are more likely to buy.
If you’ve been on the fence about Apple’s App Store ads, consider that these changes make this a great time to give the ads a try. So, refresh your App Store page, dust off those keywords and start your setup now.