PeakVisor reaches the
right customers around the world.

Apple Search Ads drives success in new markets as top
performing advertising platform for customer acquisition,
cost efficiency and conversion rate.


  • Improve app visibility.
  • Reach the right customers in a crowded category.
  • Continue to drive acquisition
    during transition to
    subscription business model.


  • Use Search Match to gain
    audience insights in new markets.
  • Localise keyword strategies by country and complement organic growth.
  • Optimise for seasonality with Creative Sets.


  • Apple Search Ads is PeakVisor’s
    no.1 advertising platform for acquisition and revenue.
  • Apple Search Ads drives 2x
    better cost efficiency than any other platform.
  • Creative Sets helped improve conversion rates by as much as 12 per cent.

PeakVisor expands and
evolves its business.

PeakVisor helps hikers and skiers safely navigate in the mountains with cutting-edge 3D maps of trails, summits, passes, viewpoints and even parking. Unique augmented reality features also offer outdoor enthusiasts easy mountain identification and exploration right through their camera view. Launched in Italy by the company Routes Software SRL, PeakVisor needed to raise app visibility with a niche audience in a mature, crowded category.

“One of our biggest challenges is that hikers prefer to stick with familiar products. They aren’t willing to learn how to use a new, unproven app that could affect their safety in the wilderness,” says Denis Bulichenko, Founder of Routes Software. “Additionally, reaching our audience can be tough. By definition, outdoor enthusiasts like to spend time alone in nature, not sitting in front of devices.”

PeakVisor initially tried a variety of acquisition tactics including content marketing, outreach in forums, social media ads and influencer engagement at events but didn’t find any scalable solutions. “When we learned about Apple Search Ads, the idea of intent-based ads clicked. Apple Search Ads offered a unique way to get in front of people already showing relevant intent by searching for things like ’mountain weather forecast’. We saw immediate results with Apple Search Ads and it quickly became our core channel for customer acquisition and growth, driving the best efficiency and revenue,” says Bulichenko.

Discover new market insights and localise keyword strategy.

Focused on expansion beyond Europe, the small team of six behind PeakVisor turned to Apple Search Ads to drive cost-effective customer acquisition in untapped markets like the US and Canada, as well as several Asian countries and regions like Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. They targeted keywords related to similar or complementary interests as well as geographic terms (popular mountain ranges, resorts and towns).

But most importantly, PeakVisor relied on Search Match as a tool for keyword discovery. By testing new keywords uncovered by Search Match, PeakVisor found that as many as 90 per cent of the most effective keywords can be specific to a particular market.*

“There is some overlap around generic keywords and competitor apps but there are significant cultural differences by market that we were able to better understand thanks to Apple Search Ads,” says Bulichenko. “For example, hiking in the US tends to be wilder, more unchartered. That means our target audience in the US searches for ’backpacking’ and ’camping’ instead of ’mountain huts’ and ’cable cars’ like our European customers do in the Alps.”

Another key difference between markets can be what hikers consider important hiking accomplishments. PeakVisor found that in the US, hikers search for “fourteeners” (independent summits higher than 14,000 feet) as a category. That search term doesn’t exist in other countries, perhaps also because height-related searches are measured in metres not feet outside the US.

PeakVisor discovered another nuance thanks to Search Match: the keyword “mountain climb” is related to a popular car racing game. In Asian countries and regions (Japan, China, Taiwan), it can be particularly hard to distinguish whether people searching on this term are gamers or hikers. This insight helped PeakVisor exclude potentially irrelevant terms in those markets.

“Apple Search Ads helps us effectively understand and enter new markets. It plays a crucial role in guiding our localisation efforts and acting as a tool for market research. Our previous efforts to enter the US market were fruitless. But with Apple Search Ads, we were able to successfully localise our strategy for the US, quickly optimise for performance and reach the right customers at the right moment at scale. The US is now one of our biggest markets,” confirms Bulichenko.

In fact, Apple Search Ads was PeakVisor’s top performing paid channel across customer acquisition and revenue in every market for its first three years as a paid app. It also drove more than 2x better cost efficiency than any other platform.* With Apple Search Ads, PeakVisor has also noticed incremental organic downloads, augmenting growth in new markets.

Optimise for seasonality with more ad variations.

With outdoor activities, seasonality figures prominently. Peak hiking season lasts from May to October. Then, between December and April, people tend to trade their hiking boots for skis and snowboards. PeakVisor’s marketing tactics need to adjust for each season but communicating that the app serves its customers year-round remains vital.

“Creative Sets has been instrumental in better understanding what mix of creative makes different audiences more likely to install. Whether it’s entering a new market or optimising for the season, Apple Search Ads gives us the insights we need to iterate faster and maximise performance. In fact, Creative Sets has driven improvements in conversion as high as 12 per cent,” reveals Bulichenko.

With Creative Sets, Apple Search Ads Advanced advertisers can enable different ad variations using all of the screenshots and app previews from their App Store product page. PeakVisor leverages Creative Sets to optimise relevancy of its ads not only by season but by country. For example, PeakVisor knows customers in the US fear losing mobile coverage. They tested ad variations for Americans that emphasise different product features. Creative Sets showcasing upfront that the app can also work offline performed best for US audiences.

Keep driving growth with new business model.

When PeakVisor launched, it was available for purchase. Over time, the team decided the app needed to transition to a subscription business model to continue developing state-of-the-art functionality and delivering a superior user experience. In the months following this shift, Apple Search Ads performance has continued strong: PeakVisor acquired 61 per cent more new customers through Apple Search Ads than the previous year.* Moving away from being a paid app has also led to 66 per cent lower cost per acquisition and 307 per cent higher conversion rate, according to PeakVisor.

“The new subscription model requires longer measurement intervals and tighter integration with our backend systems. The Apple Search Ads Attribution API allows us to focus on features which drive not only installs but highly-engaged paying customers,” says Bulichenko.

Subscription conversion has also shown promise, with users acquired through Apple Search Ads converting at a 37 per cent higher rate than organic subscribers, according to PeakVisor. Routes Software plans to continue investing in Apple Search Ads and optimising performance using Creative Sets during this new phase of its business evolution. The team is particularly interested in testing re-engagement campaigns in the near future.

“Apple Search Ads is the best decision we made in terms of marketing. It continues to be the most effective channel of user acquisition even in a market as crowded and challenging as ours. I tell all developers and entrepreneurs to try Apple Search Ads first. You can gain invaluable understanding of your target audience,” believes Bulichenko.

With Apple Search Ads, we were able to localise our strategy, quickly optimise and reach the right customers.

Denis Bulichenko, Routes Software

Company snapshot

  • PeakVisor
  • Travel category
  • Founded in 2016
  • Based in Italy
  • App Store rating of 4+