Person viewing their Apple Search Ads account on computer a screen.

Best Practices

Campaign Structure

Choosing the right campaign structure is a key part of your success with Apple Search Ads. Being strategic about how you set up search results campaigns can help you more easily measure performance, optimize keyword bids, scale to new audiences, and more. Use the following suggestions to get the best results from your search results campaigns.

Keep in mind how campaign elements relate.

At the campaign level, you set a budget and choose the countries and regions where your ads will run. Within campaigns, you’ll create ad groups where you can add audience refinements, choose keywords, set bids, and set up ad variations.
Campaign dashboard for example app Music Teacher
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Separate campaigns by keyword themes.

Include four campaign types in your account: Brand, category, competitor, and discovery. Each campaign type focuses on a different keyword theme and uses specific ad group, match type, and bidding strategies.

Campaign Structure Outline

Diagram of campaign types and associated ad groups, and keyword tips.


The first three campaign types will drive your core performance, so they should be monitored closely.

  1. Brand campaign focuses on keywords that relate to your app or company name.
  2. Category campaign focuses on non-branded keywords that describe your app’s category or genre and what your app does.
  3. Competitor campaign focuses on keywords for apps that are similar to yours, within the same or a related app category.

For brand, category, and competitor campaigns, set keywords to the exact match type, make sure Search Match is off, and apply your most aggressive max CPT bids to the highest-performing keywords.

The fourth campaign type gives you insight into effective keywords you can add to the first three campaign types.

  1. Discovery campaign focuses on reaching a wider audience and mining for popular search terms to add as keywords. Within this campaign, you’ll use broad match keywords and Search Match to automatically match your ad to relevant search terms. You’ll want to create two dedicated ad groups:

    • Broad match ad group includes all the keywords from the other three campaign types but with the match type set to broad and Search Match off.
    • Search Match ad group doesn’t include any keywords but has Search Match on to show your ad for relevant App Store searches.

In your discovery campaign, add all the keywords from your brand, category, and competitor campaigns as exact match negative keywords. This will allow your ad to match to searches related to your keywords, while preventing matches to the exact keywords you’re already bidding on elsewhere.

Use discovery learnings to optimize your
other campaigns.

Once you’ve identified search terms that perform well in your discovery campaign, add them to the appropriate brand, category, or competitor campaign as new exact match keywords. Then repeat the process of adding those keywords as exact match negative keywords in your discovery campaign. 

Consider countries and regions.

Separate campaigns by individual countries or regions when dealing with larger markets that require a dedicated budget or have distinct goals. Individual campaigns can help you understand value. Or group multiple countries and regions in one campaign if they have similar goals or share attributes like customer value, language, or regional sales or financial centers. Including multiple countries and regions in one campaign will simplify ad and budget management.
If you create individual campaigns to manage regions or budgets separately, you can set up ad group types similar to the campaign types outlined above. Create ad groups dedicated to brand, category, competitor, and discovery broad match keywords, along with a discovery ad group with Search Match on. Here’s how this structure might look for an example app called Music Teacher that teaches users how to play string instruments.

Music Teacher Campaign Structure for a Single Country

Diagram of campaign types and associated ad groups, and suggested keywords and tips for example app Music Teacher.

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Keywords

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Bidding