Automation rules can help you streamline campaign management and optimization. You are the one who is in control, and SearhAdsHQ is your fellow UA manager. It can’t fully replace you but it can significantly boost your effectiveness.

Instead of applying filters every day and going through hundreds of keywords to find the ones that could help you succeed, you can allow the system to timely ping you and provide you with a list of keywords to consider.

Instead of manually changing the bids for keywords, you can trust the system to gradually increase or decrease the bids depending on the conditions you specify. Instead of filtering out and pausing keywords manually, use automation.

In this article, we will review a few approaches and types of rules that may help you. In order to learn how to configure them, read How To Automate your Routine Daily Tasks for Apple Search Ads

Before you set up the rules

The prerequisite for any rule are:

  • Proper account set-up.
  • Proper campaigns structure.
  • Understanding of user journey in your app. That is how much time usually passes between the click/tap and in-app event and what is the post-install event you would like to optimize towards.
  • At least a basic understanding of your target metrics (what’s the value of your target CPI, CPA, CPG, what’s the ROAS percent, etc.). This is needed for you to be able to distinguish between high-performing keyword and a spend waster.

Tip: Be careful not to transfer the results you see and have achieved in other channels to ASA as this channel is different.

You can start using the automation rules even if you don’t have enough data in your account or don't have all the answers to the questions above yet. Then, you can gradually add new rules based on the target values you get by analyzing the actual data.

All your keywords are somewhere in your funnel. Some fall below your target numbers, some convert well and some convert better than others. The key is to make rules that will move these keywords up to the top part of the funnel and will get rid of the bottom of the funnel keywords.

So when you plan to automate various actions in your account, it makes sense to define what’s a spend waster, what’s a converter and what are the top converters. We usually recommend starting with setting alerts and then adding other automation rules that take specific values into account and perform actions.

Please mind that in the examples below all numbers are suggestive. Note that you need to take your optimization strategy into account when you set up the rules.

Rules can be applied to active (not paused) keywords on the following levels:

  1. All keywords
  2. Keywords in Selected Ad Accounts / All Ad Accounts
  3. Keywords in Selected Apps
  4. Keywords in Selected Campaigns
  5. Keywords in Selected Ad Groups
  6. Selected keywords

Let's see what rules you can consider applying in your account.

Special Actions

1. Boost impressions

Gradually increase CPT bids to start getting impressions

Example: 

Conditions: Impressions <2, using the data from the last 3 / 7 days / previous day

Action: Increase bids by 10 cents with an upper bid limit $1/$2

Tip: We recommend using the value when you increase the bids and using percentage when you either want to increase the bids significantly or when you decrease the bids. 

Tip: Impressions are free and they signal that the keyword is relevant as the ads get into the auction.

Tip: If you don't get any impressions, it means you're not getting into the auction. There are two possible causes why: the keyword is irrelevant or the bid is too low.

2. Monitor taps

Stay on the top of your performance - monitor keywords that bring you taps.

You have increased the bids and got into the auction now the key is to check weather impressions will result in taps. 

Example: 

Conditions: Taps >0, using the data from the last 3 / 7 days

Action: Increase bids by 10 cents with an upper limit $1/$2

Tip: remember that you actually pay for taps. Calculate the acceptable bid limit and use it when you configure the rule.

Tip: you can also choose to "Send email notification only" as action. In this case, you will just get a notification with a list of keywords that match the conditions you set.

3. Boost conversions / goals

Help low volume keywords get enough reach to get conversions

Example: 

Conditions: Spend < Target CPAGoal, using the data from the last 14 / 30 days

Action: Increase bids by 10 cents with an upper limit $1/$2

Tip: if you use ROAS, you won't be able to calculate Target CPA Goal. Instead, concentrate on overall conversions as you want to maximize them in your case.

Tip: When you create rules based on conversions/goals, we recommend that you use a long "using data from" time ranges (e.g. last 14 days, last 30 days or more) to properly capture your conversions. Conversions may take up to 30 days. When you create rules based on impressions/taps it makes sense to look at shorter time periods (e.g. from yesterday, from last 3 days, from last 7 days).

4. Monitor conversions / goals

Stay on top of your performance - monitor keywords with conversions

Example: 

Conditions: Goals > 0, using the data from yesterday / last 3 days

Action: Send email notification only

Tip: Use the report you get to analyze whether you hit your target Cost per Goal. Then you can add another condition to this rule, such as Cost per Goal below a certain value with an action increase the bids for these keywords.

Alerts and notifications

Alerts and notifications are used to monitor the changes in your account. They do not make any changes but help you spot a threat or an opportunity at the right time and do something about it before it is too late. When triggered, this rule sends an email to you specifying the keywords that fall under the conditions you have specified in the rule. Below are a few examples:

1. Get notifications about the keywords with low TTR

Conditions:

Impressions >100, TTR < 10% , using data from the last 3 / 7 days

Action:

Send email notification only
Re-consider meta-data, screens, and calls-to-action.

Tip: If all of these keywords are in the same adgroup, it may make sense to consider adding custom creative sets to these ad groups.

2. Get notifications about the keywords with low Download Rate

Conditions:

Download rate <40%, using the data from the last 7 / 14 days

Action:

Send email notification only
Re-consider meta-data, screens and calls to action

Tip: Here people click but do not download. Consider A/B testing your landing page.

3. Get notifications about the keywords that produce installs but do not convert later in the funnel

Conditions:

Installs > 0, Goals <1, using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Send email notification only

Tip: Has enough time passed between the install and the goal? Think about the event you have included in the goal.

4. Get notifications about the keywords with high Cost per Goal (Cost per Goal over x2 your Target Cost per Goal)

Conditions:

Goals > 1, Cost per Goal >50, using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Send email notification only

Pause

Tip: Remember that if you see low TTR or low Download Rate you need to re-consider meta-data, screens, and call to actions on the page for your app. If you see a drop in goals it is either the event you selected happens too rare (for example you have to wait for 30 days for it) and it makes sense to select another event as an intermediate goal and optimize towards it. Another cause of a drop between install and goals is the user journey.

Underperforming keywords

What do you do with underperforming keywords?

Probably one of the following:

  • Decrease the bid and review their performance for a longer period of time
  • Give them a second chance but set the bid by the minimum
  • Pause these keywords
  • Add these keywords into negative to stop spending on them
  • Monitor these keywords to check whether they are really not performing well or it’s a matter of a low bid

First, decide what is an underperforming keyword in your case, how much you are willing to spend on a keyword to check.

Tip: Remember that the minimum / lower bid limit is needed to ensure that you continue to get into the auction. If you fall below this bid, you may see a decrease in traffic, and the drop in traffic will affect the other metrics down the funnel. The maximum bid helps you make sure you do not overspend. The following rules can be applied:

1. Reduce the spend on non-converters

Conditions:

Spend > $20
Downloads <1
Or
Spend >$20
Installs <1
Or
Spend >$20
Goals<1
Or
Spend > $20
ROAS<110 using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Decrease the bids by 0.1$ with a minimum bid limit.

Add a rule to send a notification if the keyword starts driving conversions.

2. Reduce the spend on bottom range converters

Bottom range converters convert well but may be too expensive. Define the applicable CPI or CPG and use in the rule.

Conditions:

CPI > 5
Installs > 0
 Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Decrease bids by 0.1$ with a minimum bid limit

3. Track expensive keywords

Bottom range converters convert well but may be too expensive. Define the applicable CPI or CPG and use in the rule.

Conditions:

Spend > $25
Installs < 1
Or
Cost per Goal >$30
 Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Decrease bids by $0.5 with limit $0.5
Or send an email notification

High-performing keywords

What do you do with well-performing keywords? Usually the following

  • Increase the bid to get more traffic
  • Look for other variations that may include the words that convert well (for that you may want to add the well-performing keyword as broad match type into broad match adgroup, don’t forget to also add it as exact negative to search match on ad group)

1. Boost top converters

Conditions:

Downloads > 1
CPA < $1
Installs>1
CPI<$15
Goals>1
CPG<$25

Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Increase bids by $0.06 with limit 1.11

2. Boost one-off converters

Conditions:

Downloads = 1
CPA < $1.5

Using the data for the last 7/14 days

Action:

Increase bids by $0.02 with limit $1.11

3. Boost mid-range converters

Conditions:

Downloads > 1
CPA < $1.5


Using the data for the last 7/14 days

Action:

Increase bids by $0.04 with limit 1.11

4. Track well-performing keywords

Conditions:

Install Rate > 80%
Goals > 1
Cost per Goal < $10.1

Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Increase the bids by 20% with the upper bid limit $15

5. Track well-performing keywords

Conditions:

Impressions < 10
CPT bid < $8

Using the data for the last 3/7 days

Action:

Increase the bids by 20%

5. Spend wasters

When a keyword does not perform for a long time it makes sense to pause them or add them into negative keywords to prevent wasting spend. Rules stop applying to the paused keywords so you need to be careful specifying the conditions.

1. Exclude extremely expensive keywords

Conditions:

Installs >1
CPI > x5 your target
 Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Add to negative keywords

2. Pause keywords with no downloads

Conditions:

Taps >1
Downloads = 0
 Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Pause

3. Pause keywords without taps

Conditions:

Taps < 1

Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Pause

4. Pause keywords without impressions

Conditions:

Impressions < 1
 Using the data for the last 14/30 days

Action:

Pause

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