Cruise Shipmate Ad on App Store

Cruise Shipmate

Cruise goers have fun.
Cruise Shipmate grows downloads.

Cruise Shipmate Apple Search Ads ad on the App Store
In 2009, brothers Mike and Jan Jirout set sail on a large family reunion cruise, and built an app to help them track family members and plan activities. The first of its kind, Cruise Shipmate kept the family celebration on course, and quickly went viral. A few years later, Cruise Shipmate was bought by, an independent cruise specialist, and today it’s a comprehensive source of information for cruise goers around the world.

The Results

1/3 lower acquisition costs than competing channels.
20% increase in downloads during slow season.

The Challenge

Despite the usual seasonal travel slowdown, Cruise Shipmate wanted to improve visibility and brand awareness in time for peak season. When downloads started dropping during the usual seasonal slowdown, the app’s Cofounder Mike Jirout turned to Apple Search Ads to boost visibility on the App Store. “As a growing independent, we don’t have the large ad budgets of the major cruise lines,” Jirout explains. “Apple Search Ads helped us stay the course and keep up with the big guys.”

When I saw our performance numbers after trying out the $100 free credit, Apple Search Ads was a no-brainer. Our acquisition costs are less than a third of what we’ve seen on any other channel.

The Solution

Start fast with Search Match.

With a small starting budget and no additional staff to help, Jirout set up an Apple Search Ads campaign and started tracking results. “I was up and running with Apple Search Ads in minutes by simply selecting Search Match and adding a few keywords,” Jirout explains. To stay afloat, Cruise Shipmate has to attract cruise goers who engage with the app before, during, and even after their cruise. Engaging with these users enables Cruise Shipmate to generate revenue through in-app purchases, such as excursions and other trip incidentals. “For us, the value curve per user is just as important as the number of downloads,” Jirout says. “Acquisition costs with Apple Search Ads are less than a third of any other channel, and when I saw our performance numbers after trying out the $100 free credit, Apple Search Ads was a no-brainer.”

Reach customers throughout the year.

Apple Search Ads helped Cruise Shipmate increase downloads despite the off-season, and when users began planning their vacations in the new year, Jirout continued to advertise on Apple Search Ads. “The fourth quarter is typically the lowest period of downloads, but we were able to pull our numbers up with at least a 20 percent weekly increase,” Jirout says. “Then around the beginning of the year, activity started spiking again. With these kinds of results, we’ll run Apple Search Ads all year round.”

Company Snapshot

  • LLC
  • Travel category
  • Founded in 2009
  • Based in New York, NY, U.S.
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