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Advanced | Campaign Management

Use Creative Sets

Within your Apple Search Ads Advanced campaigns, you can use Creative Sets for more ad variations that align to your ad group keyword themes or audiences. Each set includes screenshots and app previews you select from your App Store product page.

Why add Creative Sets

More ad variations

Creative Sets enables you to leverage additional App Store assets to create more ad variations. These will run in addition to the current image and text ads that Apple Search Ads automatically creates for your app. You can have up to 20 ad variations per ad group with Creative Sets.

Improved ad performance

Align relevant groups of screenshots and app previews to specific ad group keyword themes or audience refinements such as gender, age or location.

Ensure best results

Apple Search Ads intelligent automation optimises to show the creative achieving the strongest customer response.

How to prepare your App Store product page

Creative Sets uses the screenshots and app previews from all available assets on your App Store product page. Learn more about optimising your App Store product page.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using Creative Sets:

Plan to align with app updates.

Think about how you want to use Creative Sets and ensure that the screenshots and app previews are included when you update your App Store product page.

Monitor product page changes.

If you change an asset on your product page, Creative Sets may be impacted. If assets are removed, any set leveraging those assets may be paused if the removal causes it to fall below the required minimum.

Maintain the required number of images.

Make sure you have the following on your App Store product page to make a new set:

  • iPhone: Four or more assets for portrait and two or more for landscape
  • iPad: Three or more assets for portrait and two or more for landscape

Keep in mind that the order in which you upload the images matters.

Assets are displayed in the order they were uploaded to the App Store. Regardless of the number of assets within a set, the order of assets selected will be what appears in your account from left to right.

iPhone example: If you have a set with four assets – ABCD – possible ads would be combinations of ABC, ABD, ACD and BCD, but CBA isn’t a valid combination.

How to make new Creative Sets

You can add your first set when starting a new campaign or anytime after that in the Creative Sets dashboard within your ad group. Use the Add Creative Set button.

Choose screenshots and app previews – up to 10 screenshots and 3 app previews per display size. The list you see will include all available assets on your App Store product page, and you’ll need to select the following to make a new set:

  • For each iPhone display size, select at least one landscape or three portrait assets. Two of the portrait assets must be screenshots.
  • For each iPad display size, select at least one landscape or three portrait assets. One portrait asset must be a screenshot.

Selections are available only for displays that meet the minimum number of localised screenshots and app previews. Possible options include the iPhone 6.5” display, iPhone 5.8” display, iPhone 5.5” display, iPhone 4.7” display, iPhone 4” display, iPad 12.9” display, iPad 10.5” display and iPad 9.7” display.

You can choose to not select assets for a certain display size. The Apple Search Ads default ad will appear instead.

Note that once you’ve added images and app previews to a set and you’ve saved it, you can’t make any changes to your selections. But you can change the name of your set, choose to pause it in the Creative Sets dashboard or create a new one.

Creative Sets best practices

Ways to use Creative Sets

Align to ad group keyword themes

For example, if you have a travel app that covers flights, hotels and car hire, you could use Creative Sets to focus on a specific offering. Here’s how:

  • A set using flight-related screenshots may be used to align to an ad group with keywords focused on flight booking.
  • A set using hotel-related screenshots may be used to align to an ad group with keywords focused on hotel bookings.

Align to audience types

For example, if you have a shopping app, you could show a screenshot or app preview featuring women’s fashion to a female audience, and men’s fashion to a male audience.

Use the same assets across display sizes

This will help provide greater clarity around performance.

  1. Upload assets for iPhone 6.5” and 5.5” displays.
  2. Upload the optional iPhone 5.8” display assets.
  3. Upload assets for iPad 12.9” display.

You may also want to create separate ad groups for iPhone and iPad, as ad formats and performance on the devices can vary.

Carefully choose assets for your Creative Sets

  • Avoid selecting only assets denoted as “default”. Default ads are already created for you by Apple Search Ads. Add at least one new set, or you won’t see ad variations. Default ads can run against any set for best results.
  • For the best control over ads and the cleanest reporting, consider selecting a maximum of three portrait or one landscape asset for each display size on iPhone, or a maximum of two portrait or one landscape asset for iPad. Under this set-up, you can view the performance data for each ad variation.

For example, if you have a travel app and wanted to see if a Caribbean hotel image performed better than a Hawaiian hotel image, you’d:

  • Add one set with three Caribbean hotel images
  • Add one set with three Hawaiian hotel images

Both ad variations would run against the default ad image. Because you consistently used the same number of assets for each theme, it will be easy to see which ad variation performed the best in your reporting.

Share Creative Sets across ad groups and campaigns

When you duplicate ad groups or campaigns, you’ll have the choice to include keywords, negative keywords and the sets you build with Creative Sets. Only relevant sets will be shared. For example, a set built for an iPhone device can’t be shared with an ad group where iPad has been selected as the device. And, the campaign you’re sharing the set with must promote the same app.

Creative Sets ad variations are app-specific and language-specific. So, the sets in your original ad groups and campaigns will only be shared if your new campaign uses the same promoted app and countries and regions. If these selections are changed, Creative Sets may not be shared.

Note that if you edit the name of one of the sets you build with Creative Sets in an ad group, it will change across all the ad groups that share that set.

Understand default ads

A default image and text ad is automatically created for you using the first few screenshots and app previews on your App Store product page. To ensure best results, default ads will always run in addition to Creative Sets and can’t be paused or removed. Default assets are displayed in the order they were uploaded to the App Store.

Default ad images

Assets selected for the default image ad vary depending on the type of assets available in landscape and portrait orientation. For example:

  • iPhone: Default image ads are created using the first one to three screenshots and app previews.
  • iPad: Default image ads are created using the first one to two screenshots and app previews.

Determine device display sizes

Only display sizes that meet the minimum number of required localised screenshots and app previews are available for Creative Sets. They include the iPhone 6.5” display, iPhone 5.8” display, iPhone 5.5” display, iPhone 4.7” display, iPhone 4” display, iPad 12.9” display, iPad 10.5” display and iPad 9.7” display.

If you don’t want to select assets for a certain device display size, the default ad will always appear for it.

View Creative Sets and results

Each of your sets can be found under its associated ad group in the Creative Sets dashboard. The dashboard is available regardless of whether you’re using Creative Sets. You can activate, pause, remove or add more sets there.

Performance data for Creative Sets and default ads is available at the ad group level, also in the Creative Sets dashboard. Key metrics, along with a breakdown of text and image default ads, will be available.

Creative Sets Troubleshooting

If your set is invalid

This happens when you haven’t uploaded the minimum number of required assets on your App Store product page across all device sizes. The default ad will appear instead. This may result when a change to an asset has been made to your App Store product page. For example, a screenshot may have been removed or replaced.

If you can’t find an asset

There may be a few reasons you can’t find an asset when building a new set.

  • Time lag. When you update creative assets, it could take one day for changes to appear.
  • Approval. Your app has yet to be approved on the App Store.
  • Insufficient number of assets. You haven’t uploaded a sufficient number of creative assets to your App Store product page. Minimum requirements by device:

    iPhone
    Portrait:
    3 screenshots
    1 app preview and 2 screenshots

    Landscape:
    2 assets

    iPad
    Portrait:
    2 screenshots
    1 app preview and 1 screenshot

    Landscape:
    2 assets

If you can’t select the Add Creative Set button

This happens when you’ve already added 20 sets, the maximum allowed, to an ad group. Remove some sets before trying to add more.