Search Ads Advanced gives you tools to efficiently drive app downloads or re-engagements. 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 iPad or iPhone, 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 iPad is higher than on iPhone.

Consider creating an ad group specifically for iPad users. This can help you optimize your campaigns by setting a CPT bid that will maximize 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 you don’t waste your budget showing ads for searches occurring outside of those areas.

Some examples include:

  • A food delivery app that only serves the area around San Francisco.
  • A company licensed to do business only in New York.


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. Be sure to 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 of the Campaign Management tool. You can also bulk upload keywords using the spreadsheets in the Keywords tab of the Campaign Management tool:

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 you can apply: broad match and exact match. We recommend 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 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 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 of the Campaign Management tool.

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 of the Campaign Management application.

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 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. 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 by these customer types:

  • All users
  • Have not downloaded the app
  • Have downloaded the app
  • Have downloaded my other apps

All users
For maximum reach, Search Ads Advanced defaults to show your ad to “All users,” which includes all prospective, current, and former customers of your app.

Have not downloaded the app
You can choose to show your ad to only new customers, however, you would be excluding potential re-engagements, which includes users who had your app in the past but have since deleted it.

It may take up to five days for Search Ads Advanced to ensure the audience is fully filtered the first time this criteria is requested for a given app. During this time your ad will run, but it may be seen by some customers who already have the app downloaded. Any subsequent ad groups specifying this criteria will inherit the already created filters.

Have downloaded the app or my other apps
You can choose to show your ad to your existing customers or customers of other apps that you own.

Only accounts and campaign groups that link to an iTunes Connect account can access the customer types: “Have downloaded the app” and “Have downloaded my other apps.”

If you unlink an iTunes Connect account that’s leveraging 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 iTunes Connect account, you may still leverage the customer type “Have downloaded 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.


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 age 13 or under, or whose account is registered as a Managed Apple ID. The minimum age for audience selection is 18.

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.

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 unselect 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.