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Apple Search Ads custom product pages guide
We’ve seen advertisers account most of their Apple Search Ads impressions and spend on campaigns with custom product pages. Coming from an Apple Search Ads partner, learn how to set up custom product pages for search results campaigns, strategies to boost performance, and tips to measure success.
Hi everyone, and welcome back to the third class in our course all about Apple Search Ads. In the last couple of classes, we touched base on how Apple Search Ads work and best practices for analyzing and optimizing your campaigns.
Now, we’ll take a look at custom product pages and how they can ramp up your Apple Search Ads strategy.
Why are we dedicating a whole class to this? We’ve seen advertisers account most of their Apple Search Ads impressions and spend to campaigns with custom product pages – consistently showing that custom product pages perform extremely well.
What are custom product pages?
So what are custom product pages? Think about it like this: custom product pages are essentially like website landing pages for the App Store. They’re basically different versions of your App Store product page that each get their own URL.
When users tap on an ad creative that’s linked to a custom product page, they’ll see that page, not the generic App Store product page. You can use custom product pages in any kind of user acquisition campaign – including SDK networks, social media, and of course Apple Search Ads. However, not all channels support custom product pages as of now – in fact, ironSource was the first SDK network to support them!
Once you set up your custom product pages in App Store Connect, you can use them to make new ad variations for Apple Search Ads. Remember that these custom ads are a great way to create a consistent and engaging experience for all different audiences and keyword themes.
You can create up to 35 custom product pages, and each one can be localized. What can you change on the page? Things like screenshots, promotional text, and app previews, that are all different from the default page.
So why does it matter?
Custom product pages can help you create a more cohesive story between the ad and the product page. In the previous video, we went over how Apple Search Ads cater to the user’s intent. So the more relevant your ad variations and App Store page is to the audience or keyword, the better your conversion rate. More people will tap that install button on the page because it was made for what they were looking for.
You can use custom product pages to amplify campaigns in many ways: targeting different audiences by specific features, Apple Search Ads keywords, and even by breaking down your pages seasonally, culturally or geographically.
Let’s look at a couple of examples. If someone is searching for “hotel”, you could show them different screenshots than someone searching for, lets say, “flights”. Now, let’s say you’re running your campaign in New York City … a custom product page can feature screenshots of your app framed by the city’s skyline.
How do custom product pages work?
Let’s run through how you create and market your custom product pages. You create custom product pages on Apple’s platform, which is called; App Store Connect. First, you choose to start with a copy of your default App Store product page or a blank page as the base of your custom product page. The next step is customizing with new screenshots, promotional text, and app previews. App previews are short videos that show features of your app and what it can do. They can be up to 30 seconds long and you can add up to 3 on your page. Keep in mind that videos are muted so you’ll want them to be as eye catching as possible.
Once you build the page, it’s time to add it to a campaign. Every custom product page generates a unique URL which you can use on various platforms like SDK ad networks, social media, email campaigns, other promotional websites, and Apple Search Ads. Sharing the URL is really simple because all you have to do is copy-paste, and add it to a campaign.
Note that any metadata – which is basically anything you customize – has to be submitted to Apple for review, so be sure to refer to the App Store review guidelines. If you want, you can automatically upload and submit your custom product pages using the App Store Connect API.
Strategies for custom product pages
Now that we have our custom product pages, let’s talk about strategies that we’ve seen advertisers use. How do we optimize them for our Apple Search Ads campaigns? No need to pick and choose just one strategy – all of these are good to keep in mind when you’re running your campaigns.
Strategy number 1: Start broad, and then narrow down
This can be an easy strategy to start with. The more custom product pages you have, the more opportunities you have to appeal to a user. Because not every page will work for all audiences. By having a wide open field to test what works best, you’ll learn more about your audience, and get a better sense of the relationship between your ads and pages. From there, you can narrow them down, and optimize your videos and images based on what you learn.
Strategy 2: Start with Search Match
The Apple Search Ads platform lets you test your custom product pages so you can optimize accordingly. It might be beneficial to first test your custom product page per ad group on a search match campaign. You can use broad keywords like “funny games” or “puzzle apps”, so that your campaign covers a bigger audience. Just place your bid and budget and the Apple Search Ads algorithm does the rest. If you see that your custom product page is successful with a Search Match campaign, you can start testing it with brand campaigns. On the other hand, you can also be specific with your keywords and create keyword custom page bundles.
Strategy 3: Use a storytelling approach
The idea is to make the user want to scroll through each screenshot until they get to the end of the story. For example, if you have your first screenshot of someone running, you can make the next screenshot of the runner in a different place. Think of it like a carousel with connecting images…you want to stay interested enough to stay and find out what’s next.
Strategy 4: Have ASO and UA teams collaborate
In many app companies, these teams are fragmented – so having regular syncs between them can speed up the process of updating custom product pages and sharing new insights on their performance. For example, you can explore what’s performing well on the custom product page that can be moved to the default product page and vice versa. Syncing between these teams helps iron out the kinks efficiently.
Analyzing custom product pages
Now how do you analyze performance? The truth is, you’ll just be using your usual UA KPIs to track success – whether that’s a ROAS goal, cost per install, cost per action, or whatever your metric of choice is.
To analyze the custom product page itself, head to App Store Connect or a third party tool like Luna for additional insights. You’ll see metrics like clicks, impressions, downloads, redownloads, and conversion rates. Just remember to compare those metrics to whatever your main KPI goal is. For example, if you have a high conversion rate on the custom product page, but the ROAS goal within the app is low, it may mean your targeting settings need to be updated.
On App Store Connect, you’re also able to compare your custom product page’s performance to your default App Store product page. You can also use a third party platform to compare your custom product pages bundled together against the default. This lets you see how performance has changed since running your custom product pages.
With a third party platform, you can also compare the performance of each individual custom product page to one another and see which ones are working well and which ones are not. Once you have your results, you can take the top performing versions and compare those as a bundle to your default product page. From here, you’ll see if the conversion rate on average was better than the default. If it is, it’s probably worthwhile to invest more in those custom product pages and continue to put effort into adjusting, producing and optimizing them even further.
You’ll also want to analyze custom product page performance according to the keyword campaign they’re attached to. Usually, you analyze keyword performance by making a pivot table in Excel, but adding custom product pages as another dimension to the pivot table can complicate things. Not only are you analyzing which keyword is working best, and separately which ad variation/custom product page works best, but you’re analyzing what combinations of keywords, ad variations, and custom product pages work best together.
Another option is to use labels, also known as tags, on a third party platform. For example, if you create a keyword list labeled “hotels” and have that same label for the corresponding custom product page, you can extract deeper insights like what concepts, elements, themes, or colors drive increases in performance.
We’ve familiarized ourselves a bit more on how custom product pages work and how you can leverage them to enhance your Apple Search Ads campaigns. Now you’re ready to start optimizing. See you next time!