The Apple Search Ads creators have powered the platform with a Search Popularity indicator. Ranged from 5 to 100, it shows a share of users who have entered a search query in a particular storefront. The value isn’t absolute and depends on the population of a particular storefront: 50% in the US and the UK storefronts will differ in absolute terms.

Search Ads search popularity

Source: AppTweak

The bigger search popularity of a keyword, the more search traffic it gets. Such keywords are limited in number, hence competition for them is very high.

Keywords with search popularity of 5 can be ignored, as they have little to contribute to the number of impressions. Obviously, competition for top 10% of keywords is very high. In order to manage this imbalance, Apple Search Ads has another important feature – technical relevance score (find more below).

Additionally, according to AppTweak, top 20 keywords in the US (Search Popularity > 80) are all brands, with the exception of “games”. This speaks to the fact that branded queries bring about the biggest increase in traffic.

Unfortunately, the App Store doesn’t provide any data on the keywords search volume, so it’s difficult (yet possible) to make assumptions about the search volume of long- and short-tail words:

  • Based on the statistics above, long-tail keywords are relevant for Search Ads but with some limitations;
  • On Google, long-tail keywords account for 70-80% of the search volume. On Search Ads, their traffic volume is far less than on Google, given the shift towards short-tail branded queries. Based on the data above, they make 30-40%.
Search demand curve

Google search demand curve (Source: Ahrefs)

  • According to our data, there were 5 billion search queries in the US storefront in 2017, or 400 million per month. 30% of them equal to 120 million impressions for long-tail keywords only in the US storefront.
  • Usually, copying the structure and keywords from Google Ads doesn’t work due to the huge difference between the essence of Google and Search Ads queries.

Why use long-tail keywords:

  • Traffic of a higher quality and bigger conversion rates. Long-tail keywords are more specific. Compare “games” vs. “education games for kids”. The second query is more relevant to the searcher, so it can attract traffic of a higher quality and has a greater conversion potential.
  • Long-tail keywords are less competitive and, therefore, cheaper. People often ignore such keywords as they imply more work and advertising expertise.
  • More sustainable results. If you target only popular keywords, the chances are that a big player will come and outbid you, which will cause your impressions and revenue immediately drop. With long-tail keywords, all traffic is distributed between multiple keywords, which makes the problem less pressing.
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