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How to Test Your App Store Listing with Apple Search Ads

Google knows a lot about us. As an advertiser, this is pretty awesome. You can use Demographics to control who your ad is served to. This is where it gets REALLY interesting. You have the same kind of targeting available as for Adwords search ads.

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How to Test Your App Store Listing with Apple Search Ads?

This means that you can target audiences several ways.

What their interests and habits are:

You can use Google’s list of affinity audiences or create your own custom affinity audience.

Custom affinity audiences are pretty powerful because they let you define a custom audience by combining interests, URLs, places or apps. Note that estimates are not yet available for mobile apps and places.

What they are actively researching or planning (custom intent audiences)

You are now able to reach viewers on YouTube who recently searched for your products or services on Google. This is what Google calls custom intent audiences.

The power of this is pretty self-explanatory: it’s the perfect way to put a video in front of someone that has actually been looking for what you have to offer.

The only thing you need to do is to create a keyword list for your video campaign!

“According to YouTube data, campaigns that use intent-based targeting on mobile devices have 20% higher ad recall lift, and 50% higher brand awareness lift compared to campaigns that only use demographic targeting.4[see data]”
– Google

How they have interacted (or could interact) with your business?

As mentioned earlier in the post this is the other awesome part about setting up conversion tracking: you can define your audience based on how they have interacted with your business AND similar audiences to people that have interacted with your business.

This is pretty powerful stuff

Depending on what you’ve set up conversion tracking for this can be relating to interactions with your website, your app, phone calls, etc. What appears here depends on what you are tracking in Google Analytics.

Select your placement targeting

You can go one step further by targeting specific YouTube channels or even videos. Your ads should then be displayed only there.

As you can see there are a lot of ways to refine your audience. Using the Reach Planner tool (also available in Adwords), you can forecast what kind of reach and frequency is achievable on YouTube and across Google’s video partners. This allows you to plan your target audience size properly.

Create your video ad

If you already have your video ad creative ready, then this is really straightforward: you just search for it on YouTube or paste the URL.

We recommend to upload your video as Unlisted so you can better analyze YouTube analytics and get insights on your video’s engagement once the ads start getting served. You might even want to use a different link for different Ad groups if your targeting is different.

As mentioned, the only option here is In-stream ad.

Choose the “Final URL” where you want viewers to go once they click the call to action, as well as the Display URL that is displayed below your headline on mobile.

This Final URL could actually be an App Store URL, but if you use the App Store as a landing page, even if it leads to an install, AdWords (and Display Partners) will not count it as a conversion because they the only way to track App conversions is with UAC.

Here is how the ad is displayed on desktop

Choose your CTA

As you can see, the field for the Call-to-action is free-form: you can input anything as long as it is less than 10 characters.

Frequent uses for this CTA are things like “LEARN MORE”, “REGISTER”, “SEARCH NOW”, “BOOK NOW”, “WATCH NOW”, etc. But as the example of Grammarly in the beginning of this article it could also be “It’s free!”.


In the Ads & extension section of your Ad group, you can get metrics about viewer’s engagement and more importantly conversions.

You can get a breakdown of views and conversions by placement.

You might want to run your YouTube ads without any placement exclusions at first, and depending on what you see in the report you can then adjust in the “Placements” section.

You have multiple ways to exclude some placements

Weed out the placements that seem less interesting for you. Don’t necessarily remove a full placement too fast: within a less effective placement, think about the subsegments that you could try to remove first.

You can get pretty precise as to what you want to exclude


Just like your promo video on the Google Play Store or any video displayed in your Universal App Campaigns the YouTube Trueview video ads are, well, YouTube videos.

This means that you have an opportunity (and it’s much easier than when analyzing Facebook app install ads) to look at the engagement metrics of your ads.

You can get pretty precise as to what you want to exclude

Of course you’ll have a drop around the 5 seconds mark, as this is when people can skip the ad. But how much of a drop and what happens after can help you understand what doesn’t engage viewers so you can fix it.

The “relative audience retention” graph also allows you to measure your video ad’s retention against similar YouTube videos.

You have access to the audience retention graph directly in Adwords as well.


If your Universal App Campaigns did not prove as successful as your previous Trueview for app promotion ads were, then YouTube Trueview for action video ads might be the right fit.

Of course these video ads make much more sense if your product/service is also available on the web, and we’ve set to see a mobile-only product use them. Although it would be possible to target only mobile users and send them to a landing page with a call to action to download the app or even to send them to the actual App Store or Google Play Store Product Page.

Keep an eye out for these “for action” ads when browsing YouTube, and give it a try!

Have you used YouTube Trueview for action ads to advertise your product? Let us know in the comments if you have any additional tips!

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