Getting Started

Creating an account

From the Search Ads Basic website:

  • Click the Start button
  • Sign in using the Apple ID associated with your iTunes Connect account

Fill in the Account Settings fields:

  • Company name and address
  • Add the currency you wish to pay in
  • Enter the primary contact (you can add another user later)

Once complete, choose your contact preference, and click Create Account.

Link to your iTunes Connect account

To use Search Ads Basic, you must link to your iTunes Connect account.

If you have multiple iTunes Connect accounts, you can link to each of your accounts and promote more apps. This is your only opportunity to link accounts.

You must be assigned as Admin, Legal or Marketing role in your iTunes Connect account to link accounts to Search Ads.

Promoting an app

It takes just a few simple steps to get started:

1. Select the app you want to promote.

From the drop-down, choose the app you want to promote. You'll only be given the option to promote apps associated with your linked iTunes Connect account(s). If you’d like to promote more than one of your apps, you can do so from your dashboard later. Please note you can promote up to 100 apps.

2. Add your monthly budget.

This is the most you want to spend to promote your app every calendar month. The maximum monthly budget for Search Ads Basic is 5,000 USD per app, per month. We will maximise the number of installs up to your max cost-per-install (CPI) and the total amount you enter here.

3. Define your max cost-per-install (CPI).

We suggest a max cost-per-install (CPI) based on what we know about your app and what other developers are willing to pay to reach the same users. Please note: You can accept this amount, or set your own. However, if you set an amount lower than our suggested maximum CPI your ads are less likely to show.

Changing your monthly budgets

Once you’ve set your budget, you can adjust it at anytime.

To adjust your monthly budget:

  • Sign in to your account
  • Select the app you wish to change
  • Enter the amount in the Monthly Budget field

Budget increase changes take effect immediately

Budget decrease changes take effect at the start of the next calendar month. Your performance is optimised based on your existing monthly budget. When a lower budget is entered, your app promotion will be optimised using the new budget for the next calendar month. This minimises potential performance impact for your current month’s app promotion.

Your app promotion may indicate the status “Running” after it has reached the monthly budget; however no ads will be served until the next calendar month.

Enter your maximum cost-per-install

We suggest a maximum cost-per-install (CPI) for you based on what we know about your app and what other developers are willing to pay to reach the same users. Please note: You can accept this amount, or set your own. However, if you set an amount lower than our suggested maximum CPI your ads are less likely to show.

Changing your maximum cost-per-install

You can change your maximum CPI at any point. Maximum CPI changes take effect immediately.

To make any changes to your maximum CPI, visit the dashboard, select the app and make changes in the max CPI field.

Payments and billing

Add a credit card

Your ads won’t run until your account includes a valid payment method.

If a charge to your credit card is declined for any reason, we will pause your ads and attempt to charge the same credit card again within 48 hours of the declined transaction. You will receive a warning email if this happens, as well as an alert in the status field of the dashboard.

If you add a replacement credit card to your account, we will charge the replacement credit card within 24 hours from the time the credit card information is updated. Once the transaction is authorised, your ads will become eligible to appear in App Store search results again.

Supported currencies

You can set the currency for your account to US dollar, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, British pound, Euro or Mexican Peso. All spend and billing activity will occur in the currency you select.

Please note: You can only select one currency per account, and once it’s set you can’t change it.

Valid credit and debit cards

Search Ads accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. For Discover, we can only accept payment in US dollars, and your account billing currency must be set to the US dollar.

PIN-less and PIN-optional VISA and Mastercard debit cards are also accepted. Note that at this time, we cannot accept Maestro, Visa Plus or Visa Electron brands. Your debit card daily spending limit must be able to cover your ad charges.

Cards from the following countries are not valid forms of payment: Austria, Chile, Cuba, Ghana, Hungary, Iran, Mauritius, North Korea, Philippines, Singapore.

Other invalid forms of payment include pre-paid cards, gift cards, ATM cards and digital wallets such as PayPal and Venmo.

Search Ads does not charge fees for credit card transactions, but credit card carriers may charge you foreign transaction fees. Please contact your credit card provider regarding when foreign transaction fees apply. Search Ads will not reimburse or issue credits for charged foreign transaction fees.

Changing a credit card

To update a payment method, add your new card and set it as the primary payment method on your account. Just sign in and:

  • Toggle to the Billing Info tab.
  • Click Edit Card.
  • Enter your new credit card information, and save it.

Please note: You may only have one active credit card at a time for your account. You can only change your credit card information three times within a 24‑hour period.

Billing cycle

Search Ads charges will occur every 500 USD spent, or every seven days, whichever comes first. When you reach the billing threshold, you’ll receive an email notification at the address you specified when you set up your credit card for Search Ads. You can also view and download your billing notifications on the Billing screen.

Paused app promotions

A paused app promotion does not enable you to delete your account or credit card information. The payment information you added to your account remains secure while your ad is paused, and will not be charged until your ad is reactivated and successful.

Please note that when you pause an app promotion, you may still see some ads running for a few hours.

Review transaction history

You can sign in to your account and review transaction details anytime. Here’s how:

  • Toggle to the Billing Info tab.
  • Go to the Credit Card transactions section of the page.
  • Click on the specific billing notification that you’d like to see.

A list of transactions will appear, identifying the app the transactions occurred under, along with the number of installs received and the amount billed to your account.

Promo credit

When you first set up your Search Ads Basic account, we’ll automatically give you a 100 USD credit to try it for free and see the results for yourself. You’ll see this at the top of the Payment Details page when you add your credit card.

To verify that a promo credit has been applied to your account, please visit the Billing tab within the Account Settings section. The date of the last applied credit appears in the Promo Credit section located below your payment method details.


You are eligible for a new account credit if you are a developer and registered account holder on iTunes Connect, and have at least one app available for sale on the US Apple App Store.

If your account is set to any currency other than the United States Dollar (USD), the new account credit is converted to the currency you set in your account. The conversion rate is based on Apple’s daily exchange rate.

For more information please refer to the Search Ads Promo Credit Terms and Conditions.

Account Settings

Understanding your dashboard

Once your account has been set up, you may access it at any time to check on:

  • Results
  • App promotion status
  • Billing and payments

You can also add:

  • Another user
  • More apps

How to manage your account profile

Toggle to the My Profile section of the Account Settings page. You’ll see your Apple ID and what role and accounts you have access to within the account. You can also update your email preferences from this page.

If you are an admin of the account, you’ll also see additional sections in the Account Settings page.

How to change your login and contact info

Your contact information and login email address cannot be changed within Search Ads, because they are tied to your Apple ID.

Change your details here.


Visit the Notification Centre in your account to see timely account alerts, product updates and other information.

You can find the Notification Centre in the top right of your screen. A red circle indicates you have new messages. Click the icon to open the Notification Centre and read your messages. Messages can be deleted at any time.

Inviting other users to your account

Here’s how to invite other users to your account:

  1. Navigate to the User Management section of your Account Settings page.
  2. Click on Invite User.
  3. Provide the name and Apple ID of the person that you want to share your account with.
  4. Specify the user’s access by granting them a role as:
    Account admin: Manage account settings and create campaigns.
    Account read only: Read-only access to all campaigns in the account.

The invitee is then sent an email explaining they have been invited to a Search Ads account. To accept the invitation, they will have to log in with the same Apple ID that the invite was sent to.

Linking iTunes Connect accounts

If you have multiple iTunes Connect accounts, you can link to each of your accounts. This lets you promote more apps.

You can link iTunes Connect accounts when you first create a Search Ads Basic account, but not at any other point.

Note that the iTunes Connect Legal Account Holder, Admin or Marketer, must hold either the Account Admin or Group Manager role to link the iTunes Connect account to the app promotion group.