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Finishing our Mobile App Blog Week is a post from SEM Account Manager Ashley Mo on changing up your keyword matching in Apple Search ads to drive additional installs or in-app conversions for your app. 

With Apple Search Ads, running app install ads has never been so easy. App marketers can set up campaigns quickly and track app downloads from the App Store. But what if you’re interested in generating more than installs, i.e. certain, profitable in-app events?

As a first step, you’ll need to integrate with an approved third-party mobile measurement partner (MMP). From there, you’ll want to structure your campaigns in a way that allows you to maximize revenue from keywords of varying match types. Here’s how to get started.

Campaign Setup

Best practice is to run both types of keywords: exact match and broad match. It’s also a good idea to bucket keywords based on intent into separate campaigns (see below). This will allow you to control how much spend you want to allocate to brand vs. competitor vs. discovery keywords.

You’ll want to minimize the number of broad match keywords in the account; do not mirror Exact match campaigns. The broad match type can be very liberal in what apps it deems are “similar,” so it’s important to regularly review search queries and add in irrelevant terms as negative keywords. Also, add all your exact match keywords as negative keywords to your broad campaigns so you are not double-serving.

Third-Party Data

Using a MMP such as AppsFlyer or Kochava will allow you to track in-app events at the keyword level, but not search term level. This is perfectly fine for your Exact match keywords, but problematic for your Broad keywords because you don’t know exactly what the user was searching for prior to completing the in-app event. One workaround here is to regularly promote search queries to keywords in your Exact match campaigns. That way you can see how those queries perform without any noise. Promote queries based on relevancy, user intent, and/or efficient cost per install.

Now you can pull in-app reports from the MMP and use this data to calculate the ROI for each keyword, then adjust bids or pause based on performance.

Optimization

Once you have your query promotion process in place, there are a few more optimizations you should run to make sure you’re only bidding on the highest-ROI keywords.

With only one ad position available, it’s all or nothing in terms of whether your ad will show. Often you may promote keywords to exact match and find that they get little to no search volume. If this is because of a low bid, try increasing it. If you still aren’t getting impressions, there might simply not be enough search volume to target this keyword. In this case, you’ll want to pause this keyword and remove the exact match negative applied to your Broad campaign so that you are still eligible to show on this search query.  Set a recurring reminder to check this periodically for your Exact campaigns.

With the right mix of Exact and Broad campaigns, you’ll be able to maximize spend on higher-ROI keywords while still casting a wide net to find potential converting queries. Now go take advantage of the high-ROI channel that Apple Search Ads is!