Apple is finally rolling out App Store Ads. As of writing it has launched in the US with an Uber ad appearing when you search for taxi.
Why is Ads in the App Store a big deal? According to official Apple data, over 65% of all app downloads happen due to an App Store search, which means these ads are a fantastic way to drive highly targeted installs.
So far Apple have launched two ad units, a small ad unit that include the app logo and short description and a larger ad unit that also include screenshots. For now only one ad will appear at the top of the search results page and which is a major twist Apple will automatically build your add based on your app store listing.
Cost model is a Cost Per Tap (CPC) auction model where Apple have introduced their own version of quality score made up of Ad Relevance and Bid.
Targeting can be done at a keyword level with both broad and exact match available (but no negative keywords). You can further refine by geographic location, user demographic (age and gender) as well as device (iPhone or iPad).
From a user perspective you can also target “new users”, re-engage “existing users” or show ads to users of “my other apps”. This can create a multi layered campaigns structure focused on acquisition, retention and cross-sell.
To close the reporting loop, Apple has simple campaign reporting in the Search Ads interface as well as a more detailed (and highly recommended) attribution API for your app that allows detailed performance and attribution analysis.
So far as this is US only, we can see that Alcohol and Pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise via Search Ads. While no official word on Gambling ads, we would be confident that it will be allowed once the Ad system is available in the UK and other licensed jurisdictions.