Getting Started

Creating an account

From the Search Ads Basic website:

  • Click the Start button.
  • Sign in using the Apple ID associated with your App Store Connect account.
  • Choose your language and date/time format preference.

Fill in the Account Information fields:

  • Account name.
  • Country.
  • Time zone.
  • Add the currency you wish to pay in.
  • Enter the primary contact (you can add another user later).

Accept Terms of Service.

Complete the Business Details page with tax information.

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

Link to your App Store Connect account

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

If you have multiple App Store 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 App Store 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 App Store 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 50 apps.

2. Choose the storefront(s).

When you select the app that you want to promote, you will see a list of the storefronts that offer Search Ads where your app is available. If you want to promote your app on all the storefronts where it is available, leave all of them selected.

App Store in France
In compliance with the French law known as Sapin Law, which intends to make the business of media-buying more transparent, only the advertiser who owns both the app and the Search Ads account can promote an app on the App Store in France. Learn more about Search Ads and Sapin Law.

3. Add your monthly budget.

This represents the most that you want to spend to promote your app every calendar month and is a single budget across all the storefronts where your app promotion will run. The maximum monthly budget for Search Ads Basic is 10,000 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.

4. Define your maximum cost-per-install.

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. You can accept this amount or set your own. However, we recommend using our suggested max CPI to increase the likelihood that your ad is the one shown for relevant user searches.

Changing your monthly budgets

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

To adjust your monthly budget:

  • Sign in to your account.
  • Select the app if you have more than one.
  • 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 optimized based on your existing monthly budget. When a lower budget is entered, your app promotion will be optimized using the new budget for the next calendar month. This minimizes potential performance impact for your current month’s app promotion.

Once you’ve reached your monthly budget, the app promotion status will appear as “Running.” However, no ads will be served until the next calendar month.

Changing storefronts for your app promotions

You can adjust where your app promotions are running at any time. To make changes to your current app promotions:

  • Sign in to your account.
  • Select the app promotion you wish to change in the dashboard.
  • Next to the current number of storefronts where it appears, click Edit.
  • Choose the eligible storefronts where you want to promote your app. To add or remove storefronts, you can select them individually or select all.

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.

Please note that if you plan to run ads on the App Store in multiple countries, you should notify your credit card company to ensure that there will not be any issues processing foreign transactions. Depending on where your ads run, you may see up to five different charges on your billing summary from five separate Apple entities.

Supported currencies

You can set the currency for your account to:

  • Australian dollar.
  • British pound.
  • Canadian dollar.
  • Euro.
  • Japanese yen.
  • Mexican peso.
  • New Zealand dollar.
  • US dollar.

All spend and billing activity will occur in the currency you select.

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, cashpoint cards and digital wallets such as PayPal and Venmo.

Search Ads does not charge fees for credit card transactions, but credit card providers 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:

  • Click your account name at the top right of the page.
  • Click Settings.
  • Toggle to the Billing tab.
  • Click on “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 invoices on the Billing screen.

Paused app promotions

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

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 at any time. Here’s how:

  • Toggle to the Billing tab.
  • Go to the Invoices section of the page.
  • Click on the invoice that you’d like to see.

Your invoice will include the transaction period, campaign ID, campaign name, storefront, number of taps and charges.

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.

Eligibility

You are eligible for a new account credit if you are a developer and registered account holder on App Store Connect and have at least one app available for sale on the App Store in:

  • Asia Pacific: Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand.
  • Europe: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, UK.
  • North America: Canada, Mexico, US.

If your account is set to any currency other than the United States Dollar (USD), the new account credit will be converted to the currency you set in your account. The conversion rate will be 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
  • More storefronts

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, as well as your language and date/time format preferences.

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.

Notifications

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

You can find the Notification Centre at 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 you want to share your account with.
  4. Specify the user’s access and grant them a role.

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

Understanding user roles

Each role governs what a user may see or do in the account:

Account Admin
View reporting
Manage all app promotions
Access account settings
Manage users
Manage billing

Account Finance
Manage billing
Access account settings

Account Read-Only
View reporting

Limited Access
From the role drop-down menu, you can select one of the following roles:

Group Manager
View reporting
Manage all app promotions

Read & Write
View reporting
Manage certain app promotions

Read Only
View reporting

App Store in France
If you or an account admin have not previously self-identified as an ‘Agent’ / ‘Not an agent’ in ‘Account Information’, you will need to answer the question of whether or not you are promoting the app on behalf of a French company. If you already answered ‘Yes’ to this question, then another account admin needs to answer this question. Learn more about Search Ads and Sapin Law.

Linking App Store Connect accounts

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

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

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

Tax

Overview

Search Ads operates under a regional sales model. See Terms of Service for details.

Your purchase of Apple Search Ads services could be subject to tax in certain countries/regions, including but not limited to, Value Added Tax (“VAT”), Sales and Use Tax, Goods and Services Tax (“GST”), and consumption tax. Apple shall determine and invoice you for such taxes, as required under applicable tax laws.

How tax is applied

Generally, the applicability of tax depends on a combination of factors:

  • Your Business Location, i.e., the country/region where your business is legally registered and you are considered a tax resident of. In many cases, this will be the country/region where your business’ main corporate office, headquarters, or principal business is located, or the country/region that your business lists on official company letterhead.
  • Your tax information, such as valid tax ID, exemption status etc.
  • The billing Apple legal entity, depending on the location of the App Store serving Search Ads for you.

In the event that any tax authority imposes tax compliance responsibility on the customers of Search Ads services including, but not limited to, reverse charge accounting, self accounting and reporting, you shall take full responsibility for such obligation.

If you have questions, consult your tax adviser. Please note, Apple cannot advise customers on tax issues.

Tax exemption

If your business is based in US or Canada, you may declare your business is tax-exempt (if applicable) on the Business Details page in your Search Ads account. You’ll then be prompted to complete an application process through Avalara, and verify your tax-exempt status. Once approved, you'll receive a tax-exemption certificate, which you will need to enter back on your Search Ads Business Details page.

Withholding tax

In the event that any amount payable by you to Apple for Search Ads services is subject to any applicable withholding tax, and that you are required to collect and remit such tax, you shall gross up the relevant payment to Apple, so that after you deduct and remit the applicable withholding tax to tax authority, Apple shall receive the same amount as originally invoiced. If you will apply any applicable withholding tax, please properly indicate on any withholding tax documentation the correct Apple legal entity issuing the specific invoice.

Note that:

  • Apple Distribution International will collect and receive funds from you on behalf of the other Apple legal entities, but may not be the Apple legal entity issuing the specific invoice.
  • “Invoice” refers to the invoices available on your Search Ads online account. It is not the billing summary or statement you receive on a monthly basis.

Additional tax information by business location (country or region)

United States
If your Business Location is the United States, and you have provided a valid exemption certificate, Apple is not required to charge taxes on your Search Ads invoice. If you don’t provide a valid exemption certificate, your purchase of Apple Search Ads services could be subject to sale tax depending on your local and/or state jurisdiction.

Canada
If your Business Location is Canada, and you have provided GST and/or QST numbers as well as a valid exemption certificate, Apple is not required to charge taxes on your Search Ads invoice. Otherwise, your purchase of Apple Search Ads services could be subject to GST/HST/PST/QST depending on your Province.

Japan
If your Business Location is Japan, Japanese Consumption Tax (“JCT”) will be applicable on the Search Ads invoice issued by iTunes K.K. to you. You shall reverse charge any Japanese Consumption Tax that is payable on Search Ads invoices issued by Apple legal entities other than iTunes K.K.

Australia
If your Business location is Australia, Australian GST will be applicable on the Search Ads invoice issued by Apple Pty Ltd to you. It is a condition that you provide your Australian Business Number (“ABN”) to Apple and be registered for GST in Australia to use Search Ads services.

New Zealand
If your Business Location is New Zealand, and you have provided New Zealand Business Number or GST Number, Apple is not required to charge taxes on Search Ads invoices issued to you. You must be registered for New Zealand GST to use Search Ads services.

Taiwan
If your Business Location is Taiwan, and you have provided a valid Taiwan Unified Business Number (sometimes referred to as “Corporate ID,” “Corporate Tax ID” or “VAT ID”), Apple is not required to charge taxes on Search Ads invoices issued to you. You must be an enterprise customer to use Search Ads services.

India
If your Business Location is India, and you have provided a valid GST registration number in India, Apple is not required to charge taxes on Search Ads invoices issued to you. You must be registered for India GST to use Search Ads services. Apple cannot provide guidance on GST or other taxes on Search Ads services availed by You. Whether or not any equalisation levy or GST is payable by you on a reverse charge basis needs to be analyzed by you with your tax advisor, and such taxes, if payable, would be borne by you.

Ireland
If your Business Location is Ireland, Apple Distribution International is required to charge VAT on its Search Ads invoices issued to you.

South Africa
If your Business Location is South Africa, Apple Distribution International is required to charge VAT on its Search Ads invoices issued to you, regardless of whether you are VAT registered in South Africa or not. Apple Distribution International is a VAT registered entity for the purposes of the South African VAT regime.

Switzerland
If your Business Location is Switzerland, Apple Distribution International is required to charge VAT on its Search Ads invoices issued to you, regardless of whether you are VAT registered in Switzerland or not. Apple Distribution International is a VAT registered entity for the purposes of the Swiss VAT regime.

For the following countries:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Belarus, Turkey:

  • If you have provided a valid VAT ID, Apple is not required to charge VAT on Search Ads invoices issued to you. You may have your own VAT compliance responsibilities under your home country’s VAT regime, so you should take steps to understand your compliance obligation in this regard. Apple assumes no responsibility for tax compliance obligations that may exist for Search Ads customers in their home country.
  • If you have not provided a valid VAT ID, Apple Distribution International is required to charge VAT on its Search Ads invoices issued to you per tax laws in your Business Location country. Apple Distribution International is registered for VAT in your Business Location country for the purposes of collecting this VAT.

Other countries not mentioned above

If your Business location is not one of the countries mentioned above, Apple is not required to charge taxes on Search Ads invoices issued to you.

Will tax be added to the max budget I set for my campaign?

Tax will not be accounted for in your maximum budget. You may see any applicable taxes added as a new line on your invoice. Or, if you pay by credit card, they will be included in the charge on your credit card statement.

Understanding the Business Details page

The Business Details page in your Search Ads account is located in your Account Settings Overview, and will be the source we use to determine your tax status. New customers will be asked to complete the Business Details page upon creating an account.

The Business Details page includes:

  1. Legal entity name
    The registered name of your business as written in incorporation document and/or tax returns.
  2. Business location
    The country/region where your business is legally registered and where you are considered a tax resident. In many cases, this will be the country/region where your business’ main corporate office, headquarters, or principal business is located, or the country/region that your business lists on official company letterhead.
  3. Address
    The address where your business is legally registered and you are considered a tax resident of. In many cases, this will be the address where your business’ main corporate office, headquarters, or principal business is located, or the address that your business lists on official company letterhead.
  4. Tax ID
    Your business’s Tax ID number as it appears on your relevant tax registration certificate, including but not limited to:
    • VAT (Value Added Tax) ID (including the two-letter EU member state code at the beginning if applicable)
    • GST (Goods and Services Tax) ID

Credit card customers

The way we charge your account will change to reflect how your budget is being spent in each region. Say you have a $500 budget.

Previously: Charges appear as a single number that reflects all campaigns together every $500 or 7 days.
New: Multiple charges appear because they are itemized to show each legal entity where ads appeared, every $500 or 7 days.

For example, if you’re based in Australia but run a campaign in the US and UK, the charges will be itemized on your billing summary to show every region where your ads appeared. Depending on where your ads run, you may see up to a total of five separate charges on your billing summary at one time, but they won’t exceed your $500 threshold.

Please note that if you plan to run ads on the App Store in multiple countries, you should notify your credit card company to ensure that there will not be any issues processing foreign transactions.