Today tab fundamentals

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Class 31 Apple Search Ads

Today tab fundamentals

Intermediate | 8 minutes

Coming from an Apple Search Ads partner, learn what the Today tab placement is, when to use them, and specific guidelines on how to set up these campaigns.

Hi everyone, and welcome to the fourth class in our course on Apple Search Ads. In our last few classes we covered Apple Search Ads fundamentals, and best practices for analyzing and optimizing campaigns – including how to use custom product pages.

Today, we’ll be diving deeper into one of Apple Search Ads’ main placements: the Today tab. We’ll discuss what exactly it is, when you should run them, how to set up these campaigns, and best practices for optimizing performance. We’ll also go over creating awesome custom product pages for them and specific guidelines to look out for.

Let’s get started.

What are Today tab ad placements?

“Today tab ads” display a high-impact creative on the homepage of the App Store – which has 600 million weekly visitors. This placement captures attention the moment users hop onto the App Store. Because of that, it creates a great opportunity for engaging with people who you might not have reached in previous campaigns. This in turn can influence future searches, increase search volume, and have an impact on your search results campaigns.

“Today tab ads” are unique to the other placements in the sense that they REQUIRE a custom product page to set up the ad creative. That’s because the images on the custom product page are the ones that’ll be displayed on the ad itself.

Still – it’s important to note that like the other placements, the “Today tab” runs on a CPT or cost per tap pricing model. Meaning you’re only paying when someone actually taps on the ads.

When should you capitalize on Today tab ads?

There is no better place than the front page of the App Store to drive awareness all year round but there are a few times in particular when you would want to use Today tab ads in your campaigns.

First, Today tab ads can work well when you launch a new app or game. Scale and installs are two important KPIs for launch – and since this placement is on the front page of the App Store, it’s going to get a lot of eyeballs on your new app, 600 million weekly visitors, remember?

Second, if you feel like you’ve saturated your market, and have maxed out all your keywords with search results ads, Today tab ads are an opportunity to become better known with a new audience – one that might not even be searching.

Third, seasonality. Holidays, for example, capture an emotional and nostalgic time, and you can use Today tab ads to capitalize on special moments for your users.

Fourth, if you want to highlight special promotions specific to your company, Today tab ads provide a great space to do so.

How to set up campaigns on your Apple Search Ads account

Ok so, how do you actually set up these campaigns and get started? The first step is logging into your Apple Search Ads account.

Once you’re in, Tap create campaign and you’ll see all 4 of the available placements.

Then, tap on the Today tab, and you’ll be asked to select the countries you want to run in. Note that you can run in all of the countries and regions where Apple Search Ads currently operates. Except mainland China which is not yet available.

Then you’ll need to fill out your billing information, and if you scroll down you get here. This is where you choose the audience you want to run on – either ‘reach all eligible users’ or ‘choose specific audiences’.

As a reminder, you can target your Apple Search Ads campaigns according to location, age, gender, user, and device type. These are the same targeting settings we have for the previous placements, so no extra surprises here.

While we understand the instinct to refine ads to your core audience, especially when you already know who you want to target, take into account that targeting specific audiences will restrict the reach of your campaigns and limit ads appearing to users who’ve turned off the Personalized Ads setting.

Now, If you don’t choose specific targeting settings, Apple will automatically optimize your settings for you – doing the backend work and taking relevant data signals into account.

That way you reach a bigger audience – including those users with Personalized Ads turned off.

So instead of refining your audience, we recommend keeping it open, especially in the beginning testing stages when you’re figuring out what works best for your campaign.

This is also the place where you can choose the custom product page you want to use for your Today tab ad. Remember that custom product pages need to be set up and approved in App Store Connect first. Which leads us, to the next section: Today Tab Custom Product Pages

Today tab custom product pages

Like we said, each Today tab ad is created from a custom product page that you set up in App Store Connect.

Last class, we explained that custom product pages are essentially like website landing pages for the App Store. When users tap on an ad creative that’s linked to a custom product page, they’ll see that page instead of the generic App Store product page. But, and this is important,
custom product pages for Today tab ads are different than search results ads.

For Today tab ads, you need to first approve your custom product page in App Store Connect. Then you can use that custom product page to set up your Today tab ad creative in Apple Search Ads. Once you create your campaign, it’ll need to be approved for advertising by Apple Search Ads – which have some specific restrictions and additional creative guidelines.

Let’s get into them.

Number one. You can’t have more than 50 characters or three lines of text in your promotional messaging. However, this excludes the text in your screenshot – so there’s no limit to what’s written there.

Two, you need to include at least 4 portrait or 5 landscape images. And you can only include app screenshots – so no lifestyle images.

Additionally, each asset must also include a screenshot of the app that takes up at least two-thirds of the asset area. Make sure the app screenshots are formatted clearly for people to see.

Three, special offers or pricing memos aren’t allowed to be used in your assets. That also goes for using any font styling similar to the App Store Today Card.

Finally, your custom product page has to be in the default language of your campaign. So if your campaign is in the US, the custom product page needs to be in English.

When you’re done, Apple will create a preview of the Today tab ad based on your assets. Even though a custom product page can contain both landscape or portrait images, only one orientation will be displayed. And it’ll automatically generate a blurred background from your assets.

To make your creation process as seamless as possible, be sure to check out the Apple Search Ads website to further understand these guidelines.