Breaking News: Apple Introduces Paid Search in App Store

June 18, 2016

Apple announced a new Paid Search product for their Apple App Store that will provide an important opportunity for all marketers and developers to improve discovery of their apps in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Fuze has a number of insights around this product to share with you, to help keep you informed about the impact of this development and how to leverage it on behalf of your brand.

Apple App Store Ads

In a recent The Verge interview with Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing said

“We’ve thought about how to carefully do it in a way that, first and foremost, customers will be happy with,” adding that he believes the ad auction system will be “fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too.”

What We Know So Far


Keywords will be the trigger for an ad to appear at the top of the search results page in the App Store – similar to traditional paid search marketing. Marketers have the option to let Apple choose relevant keywords for their app based on their meta data and performance using a product called Search Match, or marketers themselves can choose their own list of search terms based on their own performance data. Search Match will be a good option for smaller developers, while sophisticated advertisers will likely benefit from managing the list themselves. Negative matches will be available to ensure that ads only appear where marketers want them to.


Advertisers will be able to block ads from consumers who already have their apps while broader targeting will be limited to geo, gender and age.


Apple will have their own version of Adwords Quality Score within the App Store, which will help ensure that only relevant ads are returned for search queries. Higher-quality ads (determined by engagement and relevance) will be rewarded with lower costs. Initial prices will be determined by a second-price auction , so again, search marketers should be very comfortable diving in.

Cost Per Tap:

“Cost Per Tap (CPT)”, yet another three-letter acronym, will be how advertisers will be charged. This will replace the traditional “Cost Per Click (CPC)” metric that is now used in traditional search marketing. Apple will also make available Tap Through Rate (TTR) metrics.

Ad Units:

Currently there are two ad units available:

  1. One ad unit will feature a logo for the app and text pulled from the meta-data description
  2. The second unit is larger and features images from the app.

The Apple algorithm will determine which version shows up for a given query, and for now, the price is the same for both. There are plans for a third unit, the details of which have not yet been announced.


Apple has developed its own attribution API, the details and implications of which are not known at this time. However, given Apple’s closed ecosystem, measurement within that ecosystem should be very accurate. Connecting that data with other systems could be challenging though.

What You Can Do Now?

Opt in today on Apple’s site and focus on making sure your meta data is updated – ads will appear with copy and images using Search Match.

The official rollout occurs in the fall so, until then, there will be no bidding available and the early opt-in period is free. This period will allow you the opportunity to learn the system and collect valuable data so you are prepared when the product goes live later in the year.