Why Apple Search Ads Supporting Custom Product Pages is a Game Changer

Apple Search Ads now supporting Custom Product Pages provides mobile marketers with huge opportunities for mobile growth. Storemaven’s VP Marketing has more.

As Custom Product Pages (CPPs) are quickly being adopted by more and more Ad Networks, Apple itself has now rolled out support for CPPs on its own ad network, Apple Search Ads (ASA). 

The Apple Search Ads documentation has been updated to allow for new “Ad Variations” which is basically a replacement for Creative Sets.

The current implementation of Search Ads support for CPPs is super easy to use. When creating Ad Variations, you can easily choose a variation from the list of CPPs you previously uploaded. This variation will have a matching user experience, as the creative (the screenshots/video in the ad) will match the chosen CPP. Basically, when the user taps on an ad, they’ll arrive at a matching CPP.

Why Apple Search Ads Supporting Custom Product Pages is a Game Changer - 1
Source: Apple

So, why it’s a game changer?

The promise of CPPs is clear: 

  1. The ability to measure campaign performance. Leveraging App Store Connect data and measuring downstream metrics such as retention and sales performance for users that downloaded through a specific CPP, provides you with a privacy-first, aggregated way to once again understand performance and ROAS at campaign level (even after the deprecation of the IDFA). 
  2. Significantly increase conversion rates for campaigns and ads by matching different audience segment intent to the creative and messaging they see on the ad creative level, and then on the product page creative level. 

ASA is a unique ad network that is only comparable to Google Search Ads, as it’s a 100% contextual ad network. Meaning – the way that you target ads is based almost 100% on the context a user is in. 

Almost all users viewing an ad through ASA are in the ‘searching for an app or a game’ mindset, and the way that they search really tells you a lot about what they’re looking for and what “pushed” them to install. 

An example. When a user searches for a certain brand in the App Store, we know with a high degree of confidence that they were exposed to some sort of brand awareness marketing, whether directly through the campaign itself (eg a TV commercial) or indirectly (a friend telling them about it.)

Similarly, when a user searches for a value or genre type of keyword such as “match-3 games” or “flight tickets”, we know they have a specific need at that moment that they’re looking to fill.

And of course, the actual keywords can tell you even more about the user’s mindset. Say someone searches for “flight price tracker” – they’re likely looking to track for future flights rather than purchase a ticket right now (as would be more likely with “flight tickets”.)

The search term users are searching for provides you with a ton of information about the context and mindset users are in. 

Five things you must know about Custom Product Pages

    With Custom Product Pages, instead of treating all your search users as one group and trying to convert them with catch-all messages, you can match each audience segment with the most effective creatives and messaging for them. 

    Let’s continue with our travel example. Someone searching for flight tickets with ‘pricing’ related keywords (“cheap flight tickets” or “flight price tracker”) would be much more likely to convert seeing messaging directly relating to sales or low fares. Whereas someone who is looking to plan a whole trip (“flight and hotel booking” or “travel app”) would be better matched with messaging around the range of services and ease of booking. Where before you were stuck with the same creatives for both (your one default product page), now you can tailor the experience to match the users needs.

    I call this “mining” your audience. You’re narrowing down different audience segments and using the best creatives for each, instead of using a catch-all creative that would lead many of these users to drop and never install (and perhaps go to download your competitor.) 

    Would a user searching for “home decoration games” be motivated to download your app when they see only match-3 gameplay creatives? Or vice versa? 

    Mining your audience correctly will lead to significant ROAS improvements, and significant paid audience growth for your Search Ads UA channel.

    So, how do you do it correctly?

    The main audience segments of Apple Search Ads 

    Apple themselves have been pushing for the campaign structure that most in the industry has been adopting: 

    • Brand campaign focused on customers searching for your app or company name. Keywords in this campaign type will help your ad appear for searches directly related to your app and brand. All keywords should be set to the exact match type.
    • Category campaign focused on customers searching for non branded terms that describe your app’s category and what your app does. Keywords here can help you reach a wider audience of customers interested in your app or its genre. Keywords should be descriptive of your app and set to exact match.
    • Competitor campaign focused on customers searching for apps similar to yours, within the same or a related app category. Keywords here can help your ad show for queries that are more narrowly focused on your type of app. All keywords should be set to exact match.
    • Discovery campaign focused on reaching a wider audience and mining for popular search terms to add as keywords. Within this campaign, you’ll use broad match keywords and Search Match to automatically match your ad to relevant search terms. You’ll want to create two dedicated ad groups:
      • A broad match ad group that includes all the keywords from the other three campaign types but with the match type set to broad and Search Match off.
      • A Search Match ad group that doesn’t include any keywords but has Search Match on so that your ad can be matched to relevant searches on the App Store.

    How to leverage Custom Product Pages for each Apple Search Segment 

    You are now faced with the task of matching the right Custom Product Page theme to the right Apple Search Ads group so you can create ad variations for each ad group. 

    Ad Groups contain a bit more information in their targeting based on Audience Refinements which could include device type, gender, age, and user type (new users, existing users, and users of your other apps.) 

    You need to think about your ASA structure and channel, and break it up into audiences in the most granular way possible (segmented by all user type states, e.g. new, lapsed, using my other apps.) For example: 

    • Users searching for my competitors 
    • Users searching for my brand 
    • Users searching for a keyword that belongs to a certain theme (e.g. “PvP games”, “Match-3 games”, “Flight Tickets”, “Ridesharing”).

    After mapping your ASA audience segments, you can create hypotheses for the creatives and messaging that’ll have the most chance in converting them.

    Why Apple Search Ads Supporting Custom Product Pages is a Game Changer - 2

    Following the above framework, you can start methodically increasing your ASA, ROAS, and paid search growth rates. 

    Moreover, by leveraging CPPs you can:

    • Start a/b testing which creative and messaging works best for each ASA audience segment. From there you can produce learnings and improve conversion rates over time. 

    Generate in-depth insights regarding the value of different audience segments which can inform your ASA budget allocation decisions. As you can monitor each CPP for downstream metrics such as retention and ARPU, you can understand that a certain audience segment isn’t moving the needle on revenues. Discover whether you’re over-investing in advertising to that segment and under-investing in another audience that shows very lucrative quality metrics.

    Conclusion and next steps 

    It’s clear that using CPPs in ASA have the potential of significantly improving all of your paid search traffic performance by creating a holistic paid search funnel from audience segment -> ad creative -> product page creative. This will lead to significantly higher growth rates, as you’ll be able to win over users you may have lost in the past when your ad creatives or product page creatives didn’t convey the most effective message for the “thing” they were looking for. 

    Nothing prevents you from turning on contextual advertising for all of your ASA paid search traffic. 

    Search is sometimes a zero-sum game. 

    When a user searches for something, sees your ad, and isn’t convinced, they will more often than not download a competitor. You can make your shot at converting that user count by hammering them with messaging and creatives they won’t be able to say no to. 

    Don’t let your competitors win your search audience. Start leveraging CPPs in ASA before your competitors do. 


    If you need help with identifying your opportunities for growth by leveraging CPPs for your ASA paid search traffic, feel free to check our platform right here. In a nutshell it helps you:

    • Understand which audience segments you should be designing your Custom Product Pages for. 
    • Test your CPPs to find the best version for each ASA audience that’ll result in the highest conversion rate, install growth, and ROAS. 
    • Monitor your Custom Product Pages over time to identify when you need to update your creatives to maximize conversion rates.

    Download the full app audience growth stack for 2022

      Jonathan Fishman
      About Jonathan Fishman
      Jonathan is Storemaven's VP of Marketing and Growth. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, listening to Frank Zappa, and spending time with his daughter.

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