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:
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:
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.
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:
- 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.”
- 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.
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.
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”.
When to raise a bid
Here are a few scenarios when you might want to raise your CPT bid in Search Ads:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How to change a bid
You can change your bid in a couple of ways.
Ad group level
To change your default cost per tap bid across your entire ad group, follow these steps:
- From your campaign view, click on the campaign with the ad group default cost-per-tap bid you want to change.
- In the Manage your ad group view, click on the amount in the Default CPT Bid column.
- Enter your new amount in the highlighted field.
- Click the check mark to confirm.
To change your bid for an individual keyword, follow these steps:
- From your campaign view, click on the campaign with the ad group containing the keyword and bid you want to change.
- Click on the ad group in the Manage your ad groups view.
- Find the keyword in the Manage your keywords view.
- Click on the amount in the CPT Bid column.
- Enter your new amount in the highlighted field.
- Click the check mark to confirm.
Note that your new bid amount must be less than your budget. To change your budget see the Managing budgets section.
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.
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:
- When a keyword has a low conversion rate.
Especially if it has a CPA higher than your CPA goal.
- 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.
- 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.
Ad Group and Keyword Duplication
Easily duplicate ad groups and keywords within or across campaigns, and any applicable audience refinements, such as device location, device type, or demographics.
Duplicate ad groups
To duplicate an ad group or ad groups, go to the ad group view within your chosen campaign:
- Select the ad group or groups you want to copy
- Click on Duplicate in the Actions drop-down menu
- Choose whether to duplicate settings and keywords or just settings
- Select the destination campaign from the destination drop-down menu
- Click on the Duplicate button
Once the duplication process is complete, the suffix “_copy” will be added to your duplicated ad group’s name.
Note: If the combined size of your ad groups and keywords exceeds the data limit (10,000 targeted and negative keywords), you may not see the option to duplicate both settings and keywords. Select fewer ad groups and try again.
Certain audience refinements may be dropped during the duplication process if they aren’t relevant to the destination campaign. For instance:
- Your destination campaign is promoting a different app that does not support the device type specified in the originating ad group.
- If the original and destination campaigns are promoting different apps, the ”Have not downloaded this app" customer type will not duplicate.
Other refinements may be adjusted automatically during the duplication process to fit your destination campaign. For instance, If the original and destination campaigns are promoting different apps, the ”Have downloaded" this app customer type may become "have downloaded my other apps.”
When duplicating, your original bid amount for each keyword is also copied across. If you choose to duplicate "settings and keywords" some keywords may be skipped because the bid amount isn't valid in the destination ad group for a different campaign. Your keyword bid amount must be less than the destination campaign's daily or lifetime budget.
Ad group duplication may be aborted if the number of selected ad groups and existing ad groups in the destination campaign exceed the limit of 2,000 ad groups per campaign.
You can duplicate keywords from one ad group to another, either within the same or in a different campaign. The amount you bid on each keyword is also copied across.
To duplicate keywords, simply go to the “Manage your keywords” view in your ad group.
- Select the individual keywords you want to duplicate
- Choose Duplicate Selected Keywords or All Keywords from the Actions drop-down menu
- Choose the destination campaign and ad group
- Click Duplicate, and Search Ads will copy your keywords across.
Note that an ad group can have up to 1,000 keywords. If the number of selected keywords to duplicate results in your destination ad group exceeding this limit, you cannot duplicate this list of keywords. Select up to the number of keywords recommended in the error message, and try again.
Specific keywords can’t be duplicated if they already exist in the destination ad group with the same match type, or if the bid amount exceeds the campaign's budget.
Duplicate negative keywords
You can duplicate campaign negative keywords from one campaign to another. Ad group negative keywords can be duplicated to another ad group in the same campaign, or in a different campaign.
- Go to the “Manage your negative keywords” view in your campaign or ad group.
- Click on either selected negative keywords or all campaign/ad group negative keywords from the Actions drop-down menu.
- Select a destination campaign or ad group for your negative keywords.
- Click Duplicate.
Note that each ad group and campaign can have up to 2,000 negative keywords. If the number of selected negative keywords pushes your destination ad group or campaign over this limit, the duplication process is aborted.
Specific negative keywords may not be duplicated if they already exist in the destination campaign or ad group with the same match type.
There are a few reasons why duplication may fail:
- Your destination campaign or ad group would exceed the keyword or negative keyword limit.
- More than 200 unique items were skipped during the duplication process. These items may include invalid keywords and settings.
Ad group keywords, ad group negative keywords, and campaign negative keywords are skipped during the duplication process because:
- Your keywords and match type already exist in the destination ad group.
- Your bid amount for that keyword is not valid in the new campaign. If your keyword bid amount is higher than your budget in the destination campaign, your keyword will not duplicate. Adjust your budget or bid amount, and try again.
- Your negative keyword text and match type already exist in the destination campaign or ad group.
- There is already an ad group with the same name and suffix in the destination campaign.
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
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.
- Provides REST access to campaign management.
- Returns data in JSON format.
- Is supported by all popular programming languages.