In order to mine keywords, you have to create a separate discovery campaign for each storefront and set a comfortable budget to spend on searching new keywords.

Obviously, the bigger the budget, the faster you will find more high-performing keywords. On the other hand, there’s no point in cutting the budget severely, as you may miss the potential profit that the discovered keywords can bring. A good idea is to apply the 20/80 rule, i.e. allocate 20% of your budget for the discovery campaign.

Since the main purpose of a discovery campaign is to generate as many search terms as possible, there is no much point in breaking it into targeting groups. This will only produce low volume terms and make management more complicated.

Step 1. Сreate a proper account structure

  1. Create a separate Discovery campaign for each storefront and set a comfortable budget.
  2. Create a Search Match ad group without keywords and with Search Match enabled, and set your bid at the ad group level.
  3. Within the same campaign, create a separate Broad Match ad group with broad match keywords and with Search Match disabled.
  4. If you already have a list of exact match keywords, add them to the broad match group as broad match keywords. This will speed up the process.
  5. To avoid competition for impressions, all keywords from your broad match campaign should be added as negative exact match keywords to the discovery campaign. To avoid competition for impressions, all keywords in exact match groups should be added to the discovery campaign as negative exact match keywords.
Search Ads discovery campaign

Step 2. Analyze search terms performance

Give your campaign a couple of weeks to run. This will guarantee that you collect sufficient data to analyze new search terms that Apple Search Ads matches to your ads.

Search terms analysis in SearchAdsHQ

Go to the “SEARCH TERMS” tab and set a 14-day timeframe. The best way is to analyze search terms every week or fortnight.

Arrange the search terms (STs) into 3 groups — Good search terms, Bad search terms and Insufficient data — and work with them as shown in the chart below.

Search terms groups in Search Ads

How to determine an appropriate category for a search term? Here you should keep in mind that due to the Search Ads data privacy policy, search terms which converted into installs are not reported to MMPs (only the keyword and the match type). Therefore, it is impossible to analyze post-downloads metrics for search terms.

Step 3. Identify Good STs

Good STs are relevant high-performing search terms which make the traffic grow without hurting its quality. All the steps above lead to discovering these queries. Good STs should be moved to the exact match keywords group.

The best way to evaluate the quality of search terms is to look at their Cost per Acquisition (CPA). For example, if your target CPA is $5.0, then queries with Downloads > 0 and CPA < $5.0 can be considered winning. Below are the filters you can use to discover winning queries:

Filters identifying good search terms

After you’ve found your winning query, take the following steps (see in the chart above):

1) Add the winning search term to the exact match group. Depending on your account structure, there can be several exact groups where you need to move this keyword.

2) Add the winning query as an exact negative keyword to your discovery campaign, just the way you did in Step 1. This keyword is included in the exact match group, so you have to make sure that Search Ads doesn’t match ads to this search term in your discovery campaign.

Negative exact match excludes your ad for searches of the exact keyword phrase, but it may still show for searches that include related and long/short keyword versions. That’s why it’s reasonable to add close variants (e.g. “game” and “games”) and misspellings to negatives as well.

Step 4. Identify Bad STs

Bad STs are irrelevant or non-performing search terms. They don’t bring any installs and eat up a sufficient amount of money, usually 3 x Target CPA. Here are the examples of filters that can help find such queries:

filters in SearchAdsHQ

Once you’ve discovered such search terms, add them to your discovery campaign as negative exact keywords.

Step 5. Identify keywords with insufficient data

These are search terms with insufficient data to be moved to any of the categories. There are 2 cases:

  1. There are no conversions and your spend threshold hasn’t been reached yet. For example, the search terms have spent less than 3 x Target CPA and haven’t brought any downloads yet (e.g. Download = 0 and Spend < $15).
  2. Low volume term. The data you request may be below Apple’s privacy threshold. For example, search terms must reach at least 10 impressions, otherwise the “low volume” value appears in your search terms report. Age, location or gender reports require minimum 100 impressions before Search Ads can show any values.

If you report has returned the “low volume” value, give the data some time to accumulate or extend the date range up to 30/60/90 days to get more data.

Step 6. Keep mining new keywords

Take steps 2-5 every week or fortnight and use the data from the latest review up to the present moment. By following these recommendations step-by-step, you can gradually increase the number of relevant keywords and, as a result, boost your traffic volume.

Naturally, the traffic volume in discovery ad groups will start dropping in a while. It has to do with exact negative keywords which are regularly being added to discovery ad groups. To keep mining new relevant keywords, you can gradually increase the CPT bid in discovery ad groups in order to make it into the auction with more expensive keywords.

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