Campaign Management

Keywords

How to choose keywords

Search Ads knows a lot about your app and its genre, and it can provide a list of keyword recommendations to save you time. You can also add keywords of your own. If that is the case, Search Ads suggests a further set of keywords related to the ones you’ve provided. You can choose to use them or not. It’s up to you. You can also bulk upload keywords using these spreadsheets in the Keywords tab of the Campaign Management tool: 


Add keywords
Add negative keywords

Each ad group can contain up to 1000 keywords. You can bulk upload up to 1000 rows in the spreadsheet at a time. For negative keywords, the maximum for each ad group is 2000, with a bulk spreadsheet upload of up to 1000 rows at a time.

Once you have downloaded and opened the spreadsheet, fill in each column with the following information:

Action:  If you're adding a new keyword, enter "CREATE" here, or enter "UPDATE". If you're updating an existing keyword.
Keyword ID:  If you are adding a new keyword, keep this blank. If you're updating a keyword, include the Keyword ID, which can be found in the ad group view, in the Keyword ID column. (Use "Edit columns" to move this into the "Columns to show" side if it's not visible.)
Keyword:  Enter the keyword you want to add or edit.
Match Type:  Specify either BROAD or EXACT match.
Status: Indicate whether you want the keyword to be ACTIVE or PAUSED.
Bid:  Enter your max cost-per-tap (CPT) bid amount.
Campaign ID:  This can be found from the top right of the Campaign view, above "Edit campaign settings."
Ad Group ID: This can be found in the top right of the ad group view, above "Edit ad group settings."

If you want to choose your own keywords, here are few tips to help:

  1. Think like your customers.
    Consider the search terms someone may use to find your type of app. What words explain the need your app meets or service it provides?

    For example, your app is a new camera app with some unique filters that aren’t available anywhere else. You’ll want to start with the basics, such as your app’s name. But then, think about what your app can do. Terms like “color editor,” “picture editor” and “photo editor” might also be successful at driving downloads.

  2. Try both general and specific keywords.
    General keywords should still be relevant to what your app offers. Otherwise, your ad is unlikely to make it into the auction for those searches. Using general keywords will help you reach a wider audience, but might also cause you to go through your budget faster, because they can be more competitive and require higher bid amounts.

    When you choose specific keywords, your ad may show for search queries that are more narrowly related to your app. Specific search terms can help you improve the rate of ad taps to conversions, but if keywords are too specific you may not reach as many customers as you’d like.

When to add a keyword

When a particular keyword is performing well, you can use the keyword suggestion tool to see recommendations for more keywords like it. Simply highlight and click on the recommended keyword. You can also add your own keyword in the box, and edit the match type for each keyword. Click Save to add the new keywords that you’ve chosen to your ad group.

How to use negative keywords

Negative keywords ensure that your ads will not appear for certain terms. They can help control your costs and improve your campaign efficiency. The default and recommended setting for adding negatives is exact match.

You can add negative keywords during campaign and ad group creation, or upload them using a spreadsheet in the Keywords tab. Once your campaigns start running, you might find you need to add to your negative keyword list, or cut back. It’s easy to make changes anytime in the Keywords tab of the Campaign Management application.

Negative keywords should be closely related to your bidded keywords, but they should also indicate that the searcher is looking for something that your app does not offer.

For example, a negative keyword is appropriate when:

  1. You want to prevent your ad from showing for search queries that don’t apply to you. So, if your app is about women’s fitness , adding “men’s fitness” as a negative keyword means your ad will not show for any searches related to “men’s fitness.”
  2. Your campaign or ad group performance data shows a particular keyword does not lead to conversions for your app.

How to use negative keyword match types

Exact match (negative keywords)
This match type ensures that your ad doesn’t show for an exact word or phrase. It doesn’t block your ad from close variants like common misspellings and plurals. We recommend using exact match to avoid inadvertently excluding your ad from showing for relevant searches.

For example:
Say you have an advanced puzzles app, and you’re using the keyword “puzzles.” You may want to add the negative keyword “kids puzzles” so your ad doesn’t show for that specific term, and you don’t spend money on a target audience that your app doesn't intend to serve.

Broad match (negative keywords)
To ensure that your ad doesn’t appear for words or phrases you select, use broad match. All of the words in your broad match negative keywords need to be present in order for your ad to be blocked. If a synonym or close variant is used, your ad still appears.

For example:
If you have an advanced puzzles app and use “kids puzzle games” as your broad match negative keyword, your ad will not appear on “kids puzzle games” or “puzzle games kids” but would still appear on search queries like “kids puzzle apps.” If you want to block “kids puzzle apps” as well, add “kids puzzle” as your broad match negative keyword.

Here’s an example of match types used with a different search term, “photo edit free”.

Adjusting bids

When to raise a bid

Here are a few scenarios when you might want to raise your CPT bid in Search Ads:

  1. When Search Match is matching your ad to relevant terms that are increasing conversions for your app.
    Test raising your max CPT bid to see if it gets you more impressions.
  2. If you have a bidded keyword that’s delivering conversions below your CPA goal.
    Make incremental increases to your bid on that keyword, with the goal to gain more impressions and conversions within your CPA target.
  3. You’re not seeing many impressions for popular keywords.
    Assuming your app is relevant for the keyword, it's possible that you're being outbid by other advertisers interested in showing their ad for that term. Raise your bid for specific keywords to see if you can gain more impressions and conversions.

When to lower a bid

Here’s a scenario where you might consider lowering your CPT bid:

If you have a keyword that’s delivering taps, but low conversions at a CPA higher than your goal.
Lower the bid to keep your CPA down. You may still win some impressions, but may see fewer impressions for that term.

Note: Adjusting your maximum CPT bid for a specific keyword overrides the ad group default maximum CPT bid for that keyword. The ad group default maximum CPT bid will still apply to new keywords that are added to that ad group.

Managing budgets

How to manage and increase your budget

Search Ads lets you set a budget and time period for each campaign. Once you set a budget, your campaign will run until you exhaust your budget, pause your campaign, or reach the end date you set.

You can add to your campaign budget and adjust any daily spend cap at any time to ensure your ads keep running. Note that you cannot decrease your budget once your campaigned has started.

To increase your budget, simply click on the Edit Campaign Settings link at the top right side of your Ad Group view for that campaign, and enter a new amount. You can also change your budget directly in the field in the budget column on the Campaigns View.

Note that when you increase your budget, you’ll see the cumulative total for the campaign since it was created. For example:

Your current budget that’s run out: $100
Your additional budget: $100
The campaign budget you’d enter: $200

If you would like your budget to last for a specific time period, you may want to add a daily spend cap to distribute your spend over your desired period of time.

For example: If your budget is $1200 and you would like it to last for 30 days, consider setting a daily spend cap at $40 per day.

Once you reach your daily budget, your ads stop appearing for that day, but will restart the next day, until your campaign-level budget is depleted.

If you find you’re hitting your daily spend cap every day and your ROI is meeting your goals, consider increasing your daily cap to see if you get additional impressions and conversions.

Note: Occasionally you may get charged slightly above your daily cap. However, we will never charge you more than your overall campaign budget.

Ad groups

Managing ad groups

Ad groups are a collection of keywords relevant to the app you’re promoting in App Store search results. You can set specific criteria and bid amounts for each ad group. Ad groups are an effective way to define who sees your ad.

For example, you can focus an ad group on a common theme related to your app. You might set that ad group higher than another with keywords related to a less common theme. Distinguishing ad groups this way also allows you to track and manage your spend separately.

Here’s what that would look like:

Say you have a camera app with some unique filters that aren’t available anywhere else. You notice that 80% of users are searching for it from an iPhone. Consider creating an ad group specific for iPhone so you can further refine your bids to get more impressions from iPhone users.

Or, if you know that users of a specific gender or age are more valuable customers to you, like males18-34, you can create discrete ad groups to closely manage your exposure and bids for these audiences.

Making changes to your campaign

When to pause a keyword
You can pause keywords in your campaigns anytime. Here’s when you might consider it:

  1. When a keyword has a low conversion rate.
    Especially if it has a CPA higher than your CPA goal.
  2. If a broad match keyword has a CPA above your expectations.
    You can pause it in broad match, and instead add it as an exact match keyword. That way, you maintain impressions for that specific word, but not its synonyms and relative variants.
  3. If you want to apply a different broad match keyword or want to switch to exact match.
    Once you set your match type in your campaign, you cannot change it. But, you can pause it, and start another.

When to add a keyword

When a particular keyword is performing well, use the keyword suggestion tool to get recommendations for more keywords like it, and then add them to your ad group.

Adjusting your cost-per-acquisition goal

Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) goals are optional, but there’s a good reason to opt in: we use your CPA goal as guidance to maximize your app downloads. (Note: it’s not guaranteed.)

You can add or adjust a CPA goal at anytime. For example, if your impressions are low, you might want to consider raising your CPA goal. If it’s priced too low, it can prevent your ad from being entered into auctions.

Account view

To access your account view, log into Search Ads and click on your name at the top right of any page.

From your account view you can:

  • Create a new account
  • View a list of your existing accounts
  • Edit your account settings, including your account information, other users, and payment information (if you are an Account Admin).

Campaign view

From the campaign view you can see a list of your campaigns, edit your campaign budget, pause or activate campaigns, and create new campaigns.

For more details on navigating the campaign and ad group views, watch the Navigating Campaign Management Screens Part 1 video tutorial.

How to reach the campaign view
The campaign view is the first page you see when you login. Alternatively, you can access your campaigns list by clicking on your account name from the account view dropdown at the top right of the page.

Customize your campaign list view
Your campaigns, their status, ID, app name, and a selection of metrics are all available in the campaign view. You can customize your performance metrics view by clicking on the blue “Edit columns” link on the top right of the table. A drag-and-drop feature lets you move items back and forth between the “Columns to Show” section and the “Columns to Hide” section.

Actions you can take at the campaign view
From the campaign view, you can edit a campaign’s budget and daily cap. However, budgets cannot be lowered once the campaign has started.

There are no time constraints on budgets, so consider adding a daily cap to control how your budget is spent over time.

You can edit the budget and daily cap directly in the table columns:

  1. Click the budget or daily cap of the campaign you want to edit in the campaign list table.
  2. Highlight the amount.
  3. Enter your new budget or daily cap amount and hit return.

Note: You can also edit your budget and daily cap once you’ve clicked into a campaign. Go to “Edit campaign settings” on the right-hand side of the page.

Pause or activate campaigns
Campaigns cannot be deleted once they’ve been created. However, you can pause and activate campaigns as needed:

  1. Start from the campaign view page.
  2. Select the campaigns you want to activate or pause.
  3. Find the Actions drop down menu (next to the Create Campaign button), and choose Activate or Pause.

Change the date range of your performance view
A drop down on the right side of the page offers date ranges that include Today, Yesterday, Last 7 days, Last 30 days, Last week, Last 4 weeks, or Last 12 weeks.

Create a new campaign
Click the Create Campaign button to start a new campaign. A new page appears, and you can select the app you want to promote.

Note: If your app name includes a special character, it might not appear as an option. To type an alternate version of a character, hold the key down until its alternate characters are displayed. Then either click on the one you want to use, or type the number that appears underneath.

Ad group view

In the ad group view you can manage campaign settings, view a list of ad groups, adjust budgets, and view reports.

How to reach an ad group page
To see your list of ad groups in any campaign, simply click on the campaign name from the campaign view.

Customize your ad groups list view
Your ad groups, their status, ID, and performance metrics are all available from this view. Tabs across the top provide additional metrics. If you wish to customize your performance metrics view, use the “Edit columns" link.

Edit the campaign budget and daily cap
Go to “Edit campaign settings” in the top right corner of the ad group page. A new page opens and you can adjust your budget and daily cap there. You cannot lower your budget once your campaign has started, however. Any changes you make here will apply across all ad groups within the campaign.

Note: You can also edit your budget and daily cap for your campaign from the campaign view.

Change your ad group default cost-per-tap (CPT) bid
From the ad group view, you can change the default CPT bid for each ad group. Just click on the number in the column to highlight it, and enter a new amount.

Pause or activate ad groups

  1. Start from the ad group page.
  2. Select all of the ad groups you want to activate or pause.
  3. Find the Actions drop down menu (next to the Create Ad Group button).
  4. Click Activate or Pause.

Create a new ad group
To create a new ad group, simply click the Create Ad Group button. A new page appears where you can customize your ad group. Enter the following information:

  • Ad group name
  • Devices
  • Default CPT bid
  • Ad scheduling preferences (optional)
  • CPA goal (optional)
  • Search Match Y/N
  • Keywords (optional)
  • Negative Keywords (optional)
  • Audience selection details (optional)

Make your selections, then click Save.

View All Keywords
You can see all of your bidded keywords and their performance metrics across all of your ad groups by clicking on “All Keywords.”

Note: This view does not include search terms that have been matched to your ad by Search Match. For a comprehensive view of search term performance, including Search Match, select the Search Terms tab.

Search Terms tab
The Search Terms tab gives you valuable insights into all your bidded keyword and Search Match performance metrics. These metrics are aggregated from all ad groups across your entire campaign. Here you can do the following:

  • View key metrics and performance, such as search terms that led to impressions, taps and conversions.
  • Discover the search queries that Search Match has automatically matched to your ads, and view their performance.
  • Identify successful Search Match and broad match search terms to add as bidded keywords.
  • Learn which Search Match or broad match terms are not working, and consider adding them to your negative keywords list

Once you understand which search terms are driving downloads at efficient CPAs and which ones aren’t working as well, you can optimize your campaign accordingly.

For example, if you see a Search Match term performing well and you want more impressions, consider adding that term as an exact match or broad match keyword. That way, you can bid more to obtain additional impressions without affecting your overall ad group default maximum cost-per-tap (CPT) bid. Or, if you see a broad match term that is not converting for you, consider adding it as a negative exact match term so your ad won’t show for that query.

Edit your negative keywords
From the negative keywords tab, you can add more negative keywords to the campaign or a specific ad group, and delete negative keywords.

Ad group keywords view

To get to the ad group keywords view, simply click on the name of the ad group from the list. Here, you can manage keywords, view reports, and edit ad group settings.

For more details on navigating the ad group keywords view, watch the Navigating Campaign Management Screens Part II video tutorial.

View keywords
On the Ad Group Keywords tab, you can see a list of all keywords and their performance within your selected ad group.

Note: This view does not include Search Match terms. For a comprehensive view of all search query performance, select the Search Terms tab.

Change the date range of your performance view
A drop down on the right side of the page offers date ranges that include Today, Yesterday, Last 7 days, Last 30 days, Last week, Last 4 weeks, or Last 12 weeks.

Add keywords to an ad group
Click the ad group you want to edit, and click Add Keywords. A dialogue box opens and lets you:

  • Add a recommended keyword by clicking the “+” next to the word.
  • Add all recommended keywords by clicking “Add to keywords” at the bottom of the list.
  • Search for more keywords by entering a search term in the search field and pressing return to see related terms.
  • Click “+" or “add to keywords”.
  • Add your own keywords in the My Keyword List box. Be sure to separate them by commas, then press return.

Note: If your keyword includes a special character, it might not appear as an option. To type an alternate version of a character, hold the key down until its alternate characters are displayed. Then either click on the one you want to use, or type the number that appears underneath.

Once you have added more keywords to the My Keyword List box, you can edit them using the Edit button on the right. The Edit button lets you:

  • Select the keywords you want to change.
  • Change the match type from broad match to exact match, or vice versa. Note: once you save a keyword, its match type cannot be changed.
  • Update your keyword bid for your selected keywords.

Edit a keyword’s cost-per-tap (CPT) bid
Look for the “CPT bid” column. Highlight the bid you want to adjust, type in the new amount and press enter.

Edit keywords in an ad group
You can edit an ad group’s keywords while the ad group is running by using the bulk download and upload feature. To do that, simply complete the following steps:

  1. Click Actions, then choose Download Keywords from the pop-up menu.
  2. Open the .csv file of the ad group’s keywords that downloads to your computer.
  3. Make your changes to the .csv file.
  4. Insert a column at the beginning of the .csv file and label the column header as “Action.” For each row in the .csv file, indicate whether your edit is an “UPDATE” to update existing keywords or “CREATE” to add new keywords.
  5. Click Actions again, and choose Upload Keywords from the the pop-up menu.
  6. Browse for the revised .csv file, then select it using Choose.
  7. Click Upload.

Search Terms tab
The Search Terms tab in the ad groups view offers valuable insight into all your bidded keyword and Search Match performance metrics for the selected ad group. Here you can do the following:

  • View key metrics and performance, such as search terms that led to impressions, taps and conversions.
  • Discover the search queries that Search Match has automatically matched to your ads, and view their performance.
  • Identify successful Search Match and broad match search terms to add as bidded keywords.
  • Learn which Search Match or broad match terms are not working, and should be added to your negative keywords list.

Once you understand which search terms are driving downloads at efficient CPAs and which ones aren’t effective, you can optimize your ad group accordingly.

For example, if you see a Search Match term driving good performance and you want more impressions, consider adding that term as an exact match or broad match keyword. This lets you bid more to obtain additional impressions without affecting your overall ad group default maximum cost-per-tap (CPT) bid. Or, if you see a broad match term that is not generating impressions, consider adding it as a negative exact match term so your ad won’t show for that query.

Edit your negative keywords
From the negative keywords tab, you can add more negative keywords to your selected ad group, and delete negative keywords.

Campaign Management API

Who can use the API

The Search Ads Campaign Management API is for developers, agencies, and third-party platforms who want to manage campaigns and pull reports programmatically.

With the API, you can build software to manage your campaigns, ad groups, and keywords. It allows advertisers or third-parities to more efficiently manage their larger Search Ads accounts and campaigns, or provide additional functionality beyond what Search Ads offers through its own product. Some use cases include:

  • Custom reports
  • Data ingestion to in-house business intelligence system
  • Cross-channel campaign management
  • Automated bid management

View full API documentation.

Getting started

To implement the Search Ads API effectively, you’ll need to understand the technical requirements and plan ahead to ensure you have the resources needed to develop and maintain the application.

Access your API view by clicking on your name in the top right corner of the screen. Next, click on Settings next to your account name, and click on the API tab.

The API:

  • Provides REST access to campaign management.
  • Returns data in JSON format.
  • Is supported by all popular programming languages.

For more information, visit REST or JSON online.