Strava grows diverse user base
with more ad variations.

Health & Fitness app optimizes conversions with more relevant
ad creative, expands into new countries, and attracts
customers who are 2x more likely to convert.


  • Increase app visibility and relevancy.
  • Reach more customers who take action and upload activities.
  • Enter new markets and explore audience nuances.


  • Test more ad variations.
  • Structure campaigns to align with subcategories in Health & Fitness.
  • Gain customer insights from keyword performance.


  • Creative Sets drove a 38 percent increase in conversion rates.
  • New users acquired through Apple Search Ads are 2x more likely to convert than new users from other ad platforms.
  • Apple Search Ads helped drive 27 percent growth across more countries.

Strava optimizes relevancy and
growth in new countries.

Strava is a social fitness app that uses GPS data to help athletes track activities like cycling, running, and swimming. While many users initially download the app to track their workouts and performance, they stay engaged with support from a positive, motivating community. Strava has an in-app purchase business model and wanted to raise app visibility in the U.S. as well as expand its reach to new audiences in countries like France, Germany, and Spain.

“Our key performance indicator is to acquire new users who upload an activity like a ride, a run, or a swim to our app. Many people may download the app but don’t take action. Apple Search Ads is amazing because it lets us find active athletes who are ready to convert: They download and then do an activity, and upload to the app,” said Michael Nguyen, Growth Marketing at Strava.

Gain insights with keyword discovery.

When launching Apple Search Ads initially, Strava focused on discovering new keywords by using Search Match and broad match to gauge the overall volume of relevant searches on the App Store. Based on these efforts, Strava decided to drive discoverability with its distinct customer audiences by creating separate campaigns for each activity type: running, cycling, and swimming. Strava used exact match for each of these campaigns to focus on specific terms by activity type.

“Apple Search Ads gives us transparency into what terms drive conversions and how different the audience for each athletic activity can be. With these insights, we are now able to think about our different types of customers at a keyword level,” shares Nguyen. For example, Strava finds that new users who searched for “jogging” tend to require more personalized motivation to upload their first activity. Strava can tailor its onboarding experience based on Apple Search Ads keywords. This strategy has driven strong results: New users acquired through Apple Search Ads are 2x more likely to convert (upload an activity to the app) than users from other platforms.

Improve ad relevancy with Creative Sets.

To further maximize personal relevancy, Strava uses Creative Sets, an Apple Search Ads Advanced feature that gives advertisers the ability to create different ads using any of the screenshots or previews from their App Store product page. Strava wanted to understand how different ad variations might impact conversions. Prior to Creative Sets, Strava’s approach had been to make creative as generic to capture as broad an audience.

“Now we are able to align creative to keyword themes and highlight app features for each activity type. Creative Sets improved conversion rates by 38 percent, helping us serve ads that are more personally relevant and closely aligned to user searches on the App Store,” says Nguyen.

With Creative Sets focused on the running keyword theme, Strava can show prospective customers ad creative with messaging that highlights the app features most attractive to runners. “Creative Sets offers an ideal way to test imagery and messaging within those images to find the best performing creative based on user response. It allows us to speak to our users individually and ensure each type of customer has a personal experience – from seeing our ad to uploading their first activity,” shares Nguyen.

Expand and optimize local strategies.

Apple Search Ads is also invaluable as Strava enters new countries, and helps the team decipher the volume of relevant searches by new market. For example, Strava can learn certain geographic regions have a higher number of searches by cyclists versus swimmers. The app then invests in the keyword themes that will maximize growth in that new country for that audience of athletes.

“Apple Search Ads has become Strava’s most trusted, efficient method of expansion. Apple Search Ads helps us understand country and language nuances through the intent signals people send by searching on the App Store. It’s amazing because we can quickly learn, localize our strategy, and optimize our keywords,” says Nguyen.

Another benefit of Strava launching Apple Search Ads in more countries: A significant increase to their organic App Store rankings in those markets. Strava’s recent expansion also aligned with the app’s most active seasons of spring, summer, and early fall – the times of year when athletes are getting outdoors to work out. In fact, Apple Search Ads helped drive overall growth by 27 percent across more markets in 2018.

We are able to align creative to keyword themes and highlight app features for each activity type.

Michael Nguyen, Strava

Company Snapshot

  • Strava
  • Health & Fitness category
  • Founded in 2009
  • Based in San Francisco, CA, USA
  • 173 employees
  • App Store rating of 4+