Apple Search Advanced & Basic: Which is Right for You?

June 7, 2018 | Article written by Carly Morris

There’s no question that having your app at the top of the search results to be easily discoverable is critical to its success. In fact, Apple reported that 60% of downloads come directly from a search on the App Store. It should therefore come as no surprise that advertisers and developers are constantly seeking new ways to ensure their apps are easily discoverable with tools like Apple Search Ads.

In December 2016, Apple launched Search Ads as a solution for developers to increase visibility for their apps on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. We previously broke down how Search Ads work, what makes them beneficial for developers, and why they’ve proven to be an effective tool for driving installs.

And, due to Search Ads’ success, Apple recently announced that it would also roll out a second version, which would be of equal benefit to developers with smaller budgets and more diverse marketing goals.


The Artist Formerly Known as Apple Search Ads

Now that there are two versions of the Search Ad, Apple has renamed the original version to Apple Search Ads Advanced. The new version (the simplified solution) is known as Apple Search Ads Basic.

Here are the key differences between the two solutions:

Apple Search Ads Advanced:
● Available in the U.S. App Store, as well as U.K., Canada, Switzerland, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand
● Includes keyword optimization, enabling people to find your app through relevant keyword searches
● Offers demographic and device targeting
● Capability to schedule ads
● Includes daily budget caps
● Pay on tap
● Advanced data & insights
● Includes $100 first-time trial budget

Apple Search Ads Basic:
● Available in the U.S. app store only
● Includes monthly budget caps of $5,000
● Pay on install
● Basic data & insights
● Includes $100 first-time trial budget

What Two Versions Means for Advertisers

Search Ads Basic is clearly the more affordable choice between the two solutions. However, there are a few reasons why even having a second solution changes the game for developers and advertisers alike.

● Increases Competition
This simpler version of Apple Search Ads opens up door for more apps to become visible in the App Store. That means if you’re not taking advantage of Apple Search Ad Advanced or Apple Search Ad Basic, your app could be significantly missing out on visibility and downloads.
● Reduces the Fear of Commitment
If you were hesitant to spend on Search Ads before, this new version also allows developers to test out their results and insights without committing to a massive budget.
● Provides Creative Insights
Whether the Basic level is your long-term solution or short-term test, having a simple and inexpensive version enables more developers to understand the types of creative and insights needed to create a more successful app marketing strategy.
● Continues Regulation of Relevant Apps
Both versions of Search Ads regulate apps to make sure that developers cannot call their app what it’s not. That means you can’t get your app high in the search results by simply using the right keywords and throwing money at the tool. Apps must hold true to what the user is searching for.


Choosing Between Basic and Advanced

While some advertisers might immediately jump to the less expensive option, there are benefits to using both Basic and Advanced.

Search Ads Basic is the perfect solution for developers with smaller budgets, less advertising experience or bandwidth, and a U.S. only audience. Additionally, developers might want to consider the Basic solution if demographic targeting and keyword optimization is less important based on their current goals.

Search Ads Advanced fits best for developers who have a larger budget to spend on paid search. Developers should also consider Advanced if they’d like to deliver ads based on demographic and device, or to reach users who might be searching by certain specific keywords. Lastly, if your app is made for a global audience, you’ll need to use Advanced, since Basic is limited to the U.S. only.

Some advertisers may even want to use both options for multiple titles. But, keep in mind that you won’t want to use both Basic and Advanced for the same app because once you make optimizations using Advanced, they override anything done in Basic.

We recommend you do some research and planning before you make your final choice on Basic versus Advanced. What are your organic growth goals and how does paid search tie in? What is your target audience? How much are you willing to spend on taps and installs?

Apple Search Ads Basic and Apple Search Ads Advanced can make a huge impact on your app’s success, but always remember to look before you leap.