A user’s journey to downloading an app on the App Store is seldom straightforward. Yes, there are categories like Entertainment, that enjoy an average conversion rate in Apple Search Ads search results of 79.69%. But apps from most categories require more points of contact before the final tap on the “GET” button happens.
This is the reason why multi-placement campaigns on the App Store are gaining prominence. To improve their results, more apps need to take advantage of all of the four ad placements available in Apple Search Ads.
In this article, we’ll share insights on multi-placement campaigns and correlate them with the latest benchmarks from SplitMetrics’ “Apple Search Ads Product Page Benchmarks Report”. It offers a comprehensive overview of all the campaigns we run with this placement, with data segmented across 13 categories and 61 markets.
Why did we choose to discuss product page ads specifically?
Product recommendations for engaged users provide a seamless discovery experience and important stream of revenue for any online marketplace, including the App Store. Product page ads occupy a location with a narrow, but precise reach. They target engaged and involved users. Our latest benchmarks hint they have the potential to become a key component in any multi-placement campaign and provide ideas for effective adoption.
Understanding product page ad design & performance
Product page ads are created from assets uploaded to the App Store. They feature an app’s icon, name and subtitle. They are displayed in the “You might also like” section present at the bottom of every app’s product page for apps from the same category as the promoted app. They’re meant to captivate browsing users. Average key performance metrics for product page ads based on data aggregated by SplitMetrics are as follows:
The average tap-through rate for 13 top app categories amounted to 2.02% and the average conversion rate to 14.47%. The average cost per tap settled at $1.06 and average cost per acquisition at $8.27. These must be evaluated in context:
- There are significant disparities in performance metrics and costs between app categories. Always look at benchmarks from your own app’s category, as they represent the state of the competitive landscape closest and actually relevant to it.
- The key strength of a multi-placement approach on the App Store is that it is more than the sum of its parts. For example: ads on the Today tab have a positive impact on performance of ads shown in the search results, on product pages and on the Search tab. All types of placements generate impressions and “touch” a user in a unique way before a download occurs.
Don’t look at TTR, CR, CPT and CPA for your product page ads only. Monitor the performance of your other campaigns as well and observe what values of these metrics you reach for your app in general.
Multi placement campaigns do work and are gaining traction. We can recommend a great case study showcasing exactly that. MY.GAMES, a leading European publisher and developer, increased impressions, acquisitions and revenue with Apple Search Ads campaigns across the Today tab, the Search tab, product pages, and search results. You can read the full case study on SplitMetrics’ blog: “Players defend castles against enemies. Rush Royale boosts reach”.
With that in mind, let’s examine key benchmarks for app categories.
TTR & CR
Let’s analyze tap-through rates (TTR) first. The average TTR among the top 13 most “tapped” categories amounted to 2.02%. However, notice the striking difference between Productivity apps (2.89%) and those from the Lifestyle category (0.95%):
Productivity apps, commonly used for work, require investment & commitment from their users. It’s logical that potential users are likely to explore multiple options before settling with the one that suits them best. On the other hand, Entertainment apps enjoy one of the highest tap-through rates and conversion rates in paid search results, with brand strength being an important factor behind these results. This means that users have little need of going beyond what’s known to them - on both search results and product pages. Other highly-tappable categories (with a TTR above 2.02% average) include Education, Games, Music and Social Networking. Good performance of Education apps can have similar factors behind it to those of Productivity apps. As for Games - players are always on the lookout for new, exciting games, so the high position of this category is not surprising.
Now, let’s examine conversion rates (CR). The average was 14.47%. Social Networking apps had the best at 29.17%. Besides them, Travel, Productivity, Lifestyle, Music and Photo & Video crossed the average value. Utilities claimed the last, 13th spot with a CR of 3.40%.
How can we interpret these values? The Social Networking category contains many recognizable brands that might incentivize users to try them out. Similar logic may be behind good results of all the above-average categories.
The key takeaway is this: large disparities between TTRs and CRs show just how customer journeys differ across categories.
To sum up, we can point to three factors that shape the effectiveness of product page ads:
- App category: all data points to ‘category’ as the most important factor shaping the performance of product page ads. There are large differences in key metrics between them.
- Brand strength & recognition: benchmarks indicate that brand recognition plays a role in how likely users are to interact with a product page app.
- Icon, name & subtitle: product page ads are displayed for apps from the same category. It’s logical that these elements play a crucial role in establishing their relevance to browsed apps and can influence key metrics significantly.
CPT & CPA
Trends in user behavior and app discovery can show us where the potential is. However, in practice, the competitive landscape can pose a significant challenge to making even the best intended efforts unviable. Let’s analyze costs of acquisition and taps for product page ads.
The average cost-per tap was $1.06, (our data shows that for search results campaigns it amounted to $1.99). Again, significant differences between categories exist:
Taps in the Finance category were the most expensive at $2.33. For comparison, Education cost-per tap was $0.34.
The average cost per acquisition reached $8.27, with Finance coming first with $23.01 and Education with $2.47 on the other end.
We have two key takeaways from these figures:
- Product page ads compliment search results ads and their costs should be analyzed in the context of their category. We highly recommend reading our “Apple Search Ads Search Results Benchmarks Report'' to get a better grasp of App Store categories.
- Keep in mind the interrelationship between different ad placements and monitor the performance of your other campaigns after introducing new ones. That’s the key to leveraging a multichannel strategy that enhances your app’s performance.
To finish up, we can share a handful of tips to help app developers implement product page ads in their multi-placement strategies. We strongly recommend reading the full Apple Search Ads Product Page Benchmarks Report, which contains detailed data for 13 App Store categories. Our advice should be taken within the context of each category. We recommend exploring:
- Establishing brand awareness with Today tab ads: this placement provides outstanding visibility that has the potential to influence results achieved through all other placements. Product page ads are no exception. Search tab ads also have the potential to contribute to this goal.
- Optimizing your app’s icon, title and subtitle: time spent on an app’s product page is measured in seconds. In this particular placement, which is visible at the bottom of a product page, an image really has to speak a thousand words, just like a carefully chosen name and a subtitle. This step is crucial in any case, but for product page apps you can also analyze these assets in the context of your category and how you could use them to “snatch” users away from your competitors.
- Investing in competitive analysis: product page ads are displayed on the pages of apps from the same category as the one promoted. Assuming your app will be shown on your direct competitors’ pages, ask yourself - how do you communicate your app’s functionality and unique selling points compared to what they do? Additionally, dissecting your competitors is something that will surely benefit all other aspects of your App Store presence.
Almost one year has passed since the introduction of this placement. Serving product recommendations to browsing, engaged users are common on any marketplace and the App Store is no exception. We anticipate that more interest in product page ads will result in many great strategies and best practices over time.
Meanwhile, we welcome you to access the full Apple Search Ads Product Page Benchmarks Report. Be among the first to implement these strategies for your app’s success.
About the author:
In partnership with our friends at SplitMetrics, this article was written by Gabriel Kuriata, Content Manager at SplitMetrics. Gabriel is a professional writer with more than a decade of experience in bringing advanced b2b tech solutions closer to the people - with content in all forms, shapes and sizes.