Why Apple Search Belongs in Your App Install Media Plan
by David Mahaffey

May 18, 2021

What are your mandatory channels when launching a conversion campaign?

We’re willing to bet your default plan has a healthy budget allocated to search. And not just search, but specifically Google Ads—and rightfully so as it dominates a great part of the SEM market.

Search is typically the best channel for driving conversion actions, whether that be appointment bookings, purchases, or email submissions. However, if your goal is to drive app downloads, you might consider branching outside of your Google comfort zone and allocating a portion of the budget into Apple’s search product. Full disclosure, it doesn’t have the greatest user interface, or the easiest account creation process, but you will find around 50% of consumer market share prime for the taking.

One-to-One Attribution Reporting 

Reaching users who have opted into advertising is only going to get more and more difficult with the rollout of iOS 14.5. Knowing that ad tech will constantly evolve as data privacy laws become more commonplace, we should not be surprised that Apple has done anything different. The surefire way to reach the users who have opted out of third-party data tracking is by using Apple’s own advertising solution.  

While we generally aren’t fans of media partners grading their own homework, for the foreseeable future, Apple has forced our hand. With drastic changes in attribution from iPhone users opting out, attribution reporting from most other reporting platforms is likely to be heavily modeled, with as much as 95% of users opting out of tracking. Apple is going to give us one-to-one attribution reporting for downloads on iPhones, where app downloads driven via Facebook and Google Search are likely to be modeled.

Platform Compatibility

If you are Team iPhone, you might sometimes forget that other smartphones exist—and that some of them are made by Google. 

iOS  apps are going to perform best running on their native platforms.   So while you are able to run iOS app install campaigns via Google advertising products like search, the results will be much better within Apple Search.

Cost Effective Solution

Apple Search is unique in this day and age for having a second price auction system. Most programmatic partners are structured as a first price auction, meaning you are paying at the highest end of what you are willing to pay, rather than slightly more than what your competitor is willing to pay. A second price auction generally allows dollars to go further for clients, and gives Apple’s platform a win compared to others in terms of efficiency.

Because most partners run app install campaigns solely on Google Ads, the competition is much lower on Apple Search. This checks another box in achieving cost effective results for your client.  

If you need more convincing on why Apple Search belongs in your app install media mix, take a look at the highlights from our latest case study!

Case Study

Arm Candy ran app install campaigns for Fan Controlled Football on both Google Ads as well as Apple Search. Because of the lack of competition in Apple Search, our CPA was cut in half!

  • Overall we were able to achieve a $3.74 cost-per-app-download
  • Both Apple and Google Search proved to be extremely efficient channels in regards to driving app downloads. But, Apple, our overall most cost-effective channel,  yielded our lowest cost-per-app-download, $1.45.