In an internal document, obtained by MacRumors, Apple shared with advertisers that App Store Search Ads results are not tied to personalized ads. Therefore, they can reach users successfully without running targeted ads.
Apple offers the ‘Search Ads’ service to developers so users can discover their apps when they search on the App Store. The company states that 70% of App Store visitors use App Store search to find new apps and 65% of them download apps that happen after a search, a more than 50% conversion rate.
Search Ads conversion rate is higher on iOS 15 devices with Personalized Ads turned-off
To give users more control of their privacy, Apple released a new toggle to enable or disable the “Personalized Ads” in native apps and services like App Store, Podcast, Books, and News in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
Now, based on opt-in “Personalized Ads” data, the company told advertisers that 78% of search volume on the App Store, globally, was from iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 devices which had disabled/turned off “Personalized Ads” in Q1, 2022.
More importantly, the data showed that the Search Ads conversion rate was higher for iOS 15 users who had turned off “Personalized Ads” so, advertisers can successfully reach users without running targeted ad campaigns. The report states:
In the first quarter of 2022, 78% of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 search volume on the App Store was from devices with Personalized Ads turned off across all countries and regions where Apple’s Search Ads business is available.
In the first quarter of 2022, Search Ads had a 62.1% average conversion rate for iOS 15 users with Personalized Ads turned on versus 62.5% for iOS 15 users with Personalized Ads turned off.
Apple emphasizes that advertisers can reach interested users without applying audience targeting to their search results campaign.
The new “Personalized Ads” toggle is different from iOS App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature which allows users to opt-in app tracking across third-party apps and websites. But critics accused Apple of introducing ATT to divert the targeted ad revenue of other companies towards its App Store Search Ads business.
However, a study conducted by researcher Kinshuk Jerath, Ph.D., a professor of Business in the Marketing Division at Columbia Business School and funded by Apple debunked those claims. It was found that the App Store Search Ads business does not benefit from App Tracking Transparency rules and other reasons are behind the success of Apple Search Ads like the growth of mobile ads and app install ads, growth of ads in particle app categories, and the launch of App Store Search Ads in China.
Thus, it can be concluded that App Store “Search Ads” is a beneficial service for developers who now know that they can reach interested users without running targeted ad campaigns.