Add and manage keywords

How to choose keywords for Apple Search Ads Advanced search results campaigns

Keywords are relevant words or terms someone may use when searching for an app like yours on the App Store. With Apple Search Ads Advanced, you bid on keywords to trigger and include your ad within relevant App Store search results — so when an App Store customer types in a search query that uses one of your keywords, your ad could appear.

Apple Search Ads knows a lot about your app and its genre, and will provide a list of keyword recommendations to save you time when you add keywords to a search results ad group. You can also add keywords of your own, and Apple Search Ads will suggest a further set of keywords related to the ones you’ve provided. To add any of them to your ad group, simply click the plus sign next to them.

If you want to choose your own keywords, here are few tips to help:

1. 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. Then, think about what your app can do. Terms like color editor, picture editor, and photo editor might also be successful at driving downloads.

2. 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.

3. Consider putting discovery, generic, competitor, and brand keywords in separate ad groups.

  • Discovery keywords can help you reach a wider audience and mine for popular search terms. Be sure to use Search Match.

  • Generic keywords can also help you reach a wider audience of customers interested in your app or its genre.

  • Competitor keywords help your ad show for queries that are more narrowly focused on your type of app.

  • Brand keywords help your ad appear for searches directly related to your app and brand. Use the exact match type for these keywords.

    Get help structuring campaigns

Note that when you add new keywords to campaigns, they’ll default to the broad match type and your default max CPT bid. They’ll also apply to all the same countries and regions associated with your campaign.

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 the recommended keyword. You can also add your own keywords 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 add keywords to an existing ad group

Click the ad group you want to edit, and click Add Keywords. A dialog opens and lets you:

  • Add a recommended keyword by clicking the Add (+) button next to the word.

  • Add all recommended keywords by clicking “Add to keywords” at the bottom of the list.

  • Search for more keywords by entering a search term in the search field and pressing the Return key to see related terms.

  • Add your own keywords in the My Keyword List box. Be sure to separate them by commas, then press Return.

Note that if your keyword includes a special character, it might not appear as an option. To type an alternate version of a character, press and hold the key until its alternate characters are displayed. Then either click the one you want to use, or type the number that appears underneath.

Once you’ve added more keywords to the My Keyword List box, you can edit them using the Edit button on the right. The Edit button lets you:

  • Select the keywords you want to change.

  • Change the match type from broad match to exact match, or vice versa. Note that once you save a keyword, its match type can’t be changed.

  • Update your keyword bid for your selected keywords.

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.

    Learn more about match types

  • If you want to add a different broad match keyword or want to switch to exact match.

    Once you set your keyword’s match type, you can’t change it. But you can pause it and add another.

How to bulk upload keywords

You can bulk upload keywords in the Keywords tab by choosing Upload Keywords from the Actions menu.

Each ad group can contain up to 5000 keywords. You can bulk upload up to 5000 rows in the spreadsheet (below) at a time. Note that for languages that include non-ASCII characters, you must save your CSV file with UTF-8 encoding to prevent character corruption.

Download Keywords CSV Template

Once you’ve 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’re 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 Keywords dashboard, in the Keyword ID column. Use the “Edit columns” link 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 maximum cost-per-tap (max CPT) bid amount.

Campaign ID: This can be found from the top right of the Campaigns dashboard, above the Edit Campaign Settings link.

Ad Group ID: This can be found in the top right of the Ad Groups dashboard, above the Edit Ad Group Settings link.

How to bulk edit keywords in an ad group

  1. Click your desired ad group on the Ad Groups dashboard. Make sure that the ad group status indicates the ad group is running.
  2. On the Ad Group Keywords dashboard, click Actions, then choose Download Keywords from the menu.
  3. Open the CSV file of the ad group’s keywords, which will download to your computer.
  4. Make your changes to the CSV file.
  5. Insert a column at the beginning of the CSV file and label the column header as “Action.” For each row in the CSV file, use “UPDATE” to indicate when your edit is an update to existing keywords or use “CREATE” to add new keywords.
  6. Click Actions again, and choose Upload Keywords from the menu.
  7. Browse for the revised CSV file, then select it using Choose.
  8. Click Upload.