Search Ads Advanced gives you tools to efficiently drive app downloads or reengagements. You can use them to define when your ads may be seen, and by whom. Keep in mind that if you narrow your audience too much, you will reduce the potential impressions for your ads.

Device type

Search Ads Advanced defaults to showing your ads to users of the device types your app is compatible with. You can also choose to show your ads only on iPads or iPhones, or set different bids and audience criteria by device.

After running ads for a few weeks, you notice the tap-through rate (TTR) and conversion rate of people viewing your ad on iPads is higher than on iPhones.

Consider creating an ad group specifically for iPad users. This can help you optimise your campaigns by setting a CPT bid that will maximise your impressions and reach with iPad users.


Search Ads Advanced supports location refinement within each country. If your app only serves certain areas, this feature ensures that you don’t waste your budget showing ads for searches occurring outside those areas.

Some examples include:

  • A food delivery app that only serves the area around Melbourne.
  • A company licensed to do business only in Sydney.


Search Ads Advanced provides a list of recommended keywords relevant to your app and its genre. To add any of them to your ad group, simply click on the plus sign.

You can also add your own keywords. Search Ads Advanced will then show you more related to the ones you included. Make sure that you choose words that accurately reflect how people might search for your app.

If you have bulk lists of keywords you would like to upload, you can do this in the Keywords tab within your campaign. You can also bulk upload keywords using the spreadsheets in the Keywords tab:

Download Keywords CSV Template
Download Negative Keywords CSV Template

Working with match types

A match type is a keyword setting that helps you control how your ads are matched to user searches. There are two types that you can apply: broad match and exact match. We recommend that you run campaigns with both match types to ensure good coverage and performance.

Broad match

This is the default match type in Search Ads Advanced. Broad match ensures that your ad will run on relevant close variants of a keyword, such as singular, plurals, misspellings, synonyms, related searches and phrases that include that term, fully or partially.

Use broad match to save time on building keyword lists. Search Ads Advanced can do the work for you so you don’t have to think of every possible keyword combination.

Broad match also helps ensure that you do not miss out on relevant searches your exact match keyword list did not cover.

It reveals unexpected search queries which you can leverage as individual bidded keywords, once you’re aware of them. You can find them in the Search Terms tab within your campaign.

Exact match

For the tightest control over searches where your ad may appear, use exact match. You can choose a specific term and its close variants, like common misspellings and plurals. Your ad may see fewer impressions as a result, but your tap-through rates (TTRs) and conversions on those impressions may be higher because you’re reaching the customers most interested in what your app offers.

To indicate a keyword as an exact match, include brackets around the search term, like this: [keyword]

Using negative keywords

Negative keywords can help control your costs and improve your campaign efficiency. They should be closely related to your keywords, but indicate that the searcher is looking for something that your app does not offer.

You can add them 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.

A negative keyword is appropriate when:

  • You want to prevent your ad from showing for search queries that don’t apply to you.
  • Your campaign or ad group performance data shows a particular keyword does not lead to conversions for your app. Adding it as a negative means your ad will no longer show for searches using that term.

Broad match negative keywords

To ensure that your ad doesn’t appear for words or phrases that you select, use broad match. All of the words in your broad match negative keywords must 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 used “kids puzzle” as your broad match negative keyword, your ad will not match any search queries that contain both “kids” and “puzzle”. Queries such as “kids puzzle games” or “puzzle kids apps” will be blocked.

Exact match negative keywords

This match type ensures that your ad won’t show for an exact word or phrase. It won’t block your ad from close variants, like common misspellings and plurals.

For example:

You have an advanced puzzles app, and you’re using the broad match keyword “puzzles”. You may want to add the exact match negative keyword “kids puzzles” so your ad won’t show for that term, and you won’t waste your budget on an audience that your app doesn’t intend to serve. Please note that a search for “kids puzzles apps” will result in your ad being shown since the exact match negative keyword is precise to the phrase “kids puzzles”.


You can refine your audience at the ad group level by these customer types:

  • All users
  • New users
  • Returning users
  • Users of my other apps

All users
This is the default customer type when you create a new ad group. To provide your ads with the maximum reach for relevant user searches, it includes all prospective, former, and current customers of your app.

New users
This customer type maximizes the number of your conversions that will come from first-time downloaders of your app.

Returning users
This customer type enables you to reengage customers who have previously installed your app. The users who see your ad may have had the app in the past but have since deleted it, may have it installed on another one of their devices or may have it currently on a device. Installs in the first two scenarios would show up as redownloads in your reporting. If the users already have the app, they’ll see an [OPEN] button. If the app isn’t present on the specific device they’re using, they’ll see a redownload icon.

Users of my other apps
Use this customer type to cross promote your app to users of other apps you own.

Only accounts and campaign groups that link to an App Store Connect account can access the customer types: “Returning users” and “Users of my other apps.”

If you unlink an App Store Connect account that uses these customer types, Search Ads Advanced may default affected ad groups to the customer type “All users.” If your campaign group is linked to another App Store Connect account, you may still leverage the customer type “Users of my other apps.”

Audience volume minimum
Audiences must have more than 5,000 users in order for ads with specified audience criteria to run. If the audience minimum is not yet reached, you will see your ad group on hold and a message informing you that the audience is below the threshold. Once the minimum audience size is attained, your ad group will automatically start running.

New downloads and redownloads
Gain insight into how many of your conversions are new downloads or redownloads of your app to better understand customer behaviors and inform your marketing strategies. Redownloads occur when a user downloads your app, deletes it, and downloads the same app again following a tap on an ad on the App Store, or downloads the same app to an additional device.

You may still see some redownload conversions when using the “New users” setting due to the following:

  • A user may have Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) enabled, preventing Search Ads from identifying them as having already downloaded the app.
  • Search Ads does not collect data on users below the age of 18. Similar to users who have LAT turned ON, App Store users between the ages of 13 and 18 may still see ads for apps they have previously downloaded. No ads will be shown to users whose Apple ID is registered to a minor under 13 years of age, or whose account is registered as a Managed Apple ID.
  • The first time the “New users” customer type is selected for an app, it can take up to seven days for Search Ads to ensure prior downloaders of your app are excluded from seeing your ad. During this time you may receive a small number of conversions that are redownloads of the app. Any future ad groups that use the “New user” customer type for the same app will automatically exclude prior downloaders from seeing the ad.
  • A user who very recently downloaded the app may not yet have been identified by Search Ads as having the app and may be served the ad.

Please note that conversion reporting will be available from May 1, 2018 onwards for New Downloads and Redownloads.

Limit Ad Tracking conversion reporting
Search Ads offers transparency into aggregated counts of conversions from devices with Limit Ad Tracking (LAT) On or LAT Off:

  • LAT On conversions - Conversions from users who have turned on LAT to prevent their device from receiving targeted advertising or having their activities tracked.
  • LAT Off conversions - Conversions from users who have not enabled LAT on their device.

Insight into LAT On conversion counts can help you more fully understand the effectiveness of Search Ads campaigns in acquiring or retaining customers. Due to Apple’s Privacy Policy, LAT On user data cannot be passed through the Search Ads Attribution API used by mobile measurement providers (MMPs), so the number of attributed conversions reported by your MMP may be lower.

Please note that conversion reporting will be available from January 1, 2018 onwards for LAT on and LAT Off.

From the Campaigns dashboard, you can view conversion data fields by clicking on Edit Columns.

For Campaign Management API users, the LAT On and LAT Off, and New Downloads and Redownloads conversion data fields are available in the Campaign Management API via the reporting endpoint.


You can refine your audience by age and gender with Search Ads Advanced. No ads will be shown to users whose Apple ID is registered to a minor under 13 years of age, or whose account is registered as a Managed Apple ID. The youngest audience age you can target is 18. However, additional restrictions may apply automatically to apps with a 17+ rating, depending on the region where your ad is displayed. For example, the minimum age in Japan is 20 and in Canada it’s 19.

If you select “All Ages”, you may reach users under 18 years old. However, Search Ads doesn’t target only users under 18 years old. No ads will be shown to users whose Apple ID is registered to a minor under 13 years of age, or whose account is registered as a Managed Apple ID.

Avoid narrowing your audience too much, as you might overlook interested customers, limiting your impressions and ultimately, your conversions.

Age-range reporting

When viewing your reports by age, metrics are grouped into the following preset age groups: 18‑24, 25‑34, 35‑44, 45‑54, 55‑64, 65+. This means that you may see impression results that appear to be for a wider age range than you selected. However, we only target the ages you specify within each group. For instance, if you select 18 to 38, your report shows impressions in the ranges 18‑24, 25‑34 and 35‑44.

Ad scheduling

You can schedule ads at the ad group level. Specify campaign start and stop dates, or set them to only show on specific days of the week or times of the day. The default setting is to start “today” with no end date.

Here’s how to use the Ad Scheduling feature:
  1. To select a block of time when you want your ads to appear, simply click on the scheduler and drag the mouse across the time frame. A blue bar will appear.
  2. To deselect a block of time, click on the bar and press delete.
  3. If the bar is still light blue, you haven’t deleted the time yet. Your ads will only appear during that time.

For example, if you have an app supporting a particular time-sensitive marketing campaign or event, you may want to schedule your ads to align with it.