app store advertising

Apple Search Ads Today Tab and how to use it?

Apple Search Ads Today Tab is the perfect way to get the spotlight in the App Store. Learn more about this iOS ad placement and how to use it.

The iOS user base has been an absolute favorite of app marketers. They are preferred for their brand loyalty, higher purchase power, better retention rates, and longer app sessions. No wonder the introduction of App Tracking Transparency (ATT) in iOS 14.5 had marketers worried across the globe. Thanks to Apple Search Ads, premium and exclusive iOS app marketing is just a matter of a few clicks. One of the brilliant inventories it offers for this purpose is the Apple Search Ads Today Tab. 

Before we get into all the details of the Today Tab, here’s a quick summary of the Apple Search Ads platform as a whole. 

  • It’s a privacy-first platform guided by the principles of search intent marketing
  • Apple Search Ads keywords form the nervous system of the platform’s app marketing capabilities
  • The platform helps to set up structured campaigns for branding, category leadership, competitor advantage, moment marketing, and regional growth
  • Ad placements follow the touchpoints of the app discovery funnel for maximum engagement and conversions - Today Tab on the home page, Search Tab, and Search Results Page
  • Keyword bid optimization is the key to gearing the platform for higher ROAS

If you would like to do a detailed reading on this topic, feel free to check out our blog section.

What is Apple Search Ads Today Tab ad placement?

The Today Tab ad placement is the first ad that iPhone users come across the moment they open the App Store application. The App Store home page is a dazzling delight to behold with trending apps and a usual bright interface. This ad placement caters to the Awareness stage of the app marketing funnel. 

An important point to remember: Today Tab ads only work on iPhones since the iPad App Store application does not have this provision


How does this iOS ad placement work?

The Today Tab ads are placed based on the user’s search and download history. Therefore, it makes a great placement for new and returning users for branding, discovery, and retargeting campaigns. 

What is the purpose of the Apple Search Ads Today Tab placement?

The App Store is visited by over 600 million users weekly. And they all start their journey from the Today Tab. This placement immediately grabs user's attention the moment they visit the App Store. Therefore, this placement is commonly used by brands for special announcements, feature launches, and in-app seasonal events.

What does the Today Tab ad placement look like?

The Today Tab ad has the app icon, app title, app subtitle, and animated assets of the Custom Product Page linked to the Today Tab. With the latest update around December 2023, the Today tab ads are now bigger and more dynamic. There’s also no need to scroll further down the page to view the ad.

How to set up Apple Search Ads Today Tab ads?

When setting up your campaigns in Apple Search Ads, there’s an option to choose the placement where the ads will appear. For inventory selection, choose the Today Tab option. 

When choosing a Today Tab placement, you will be asked to link an appropriate Custom Product Page that gives more details to the user about the Today Tab ad. iOS Custom Product Pages (CPPs) are alternative product pages that help to drive persona-led, product-led, multiregional, and multilingual contextual advertising within the App Store ecosystem. 

For the approval process, Apple will go through the app icon, title, subtitle, ad backgrounds, and the assets of the linked CPP. If the assets have been approved once, they can be reutilized without further approvals in new campaigns.

Measurement metrics to keep in mind for Today Tab ads

Like all ad placements, Today Tab ads help to look at basic metrics like impressions, tap-through rates (TTRs), and downloads. However, since the Today Tab is linked to a CPP, app marketers can also look at other data like retention rates and average proceeds per paying user. 

If the Apple Search Ads platform is integrated with an MMP partner, then a full-funnel metric view is possible. Full-funnel metrics refer to the unified reporting of pre-install and post-install metrics to give a holistic understanding of which App Store campaigns are truly raking for high ROAS.

how_apple_search_ads_today_tab_works*Brands are for representational purposes only

Common mistakes to avoid for Today Tab ad placements

A few things can go wrong when you are setting up a Today Tab ad in the App Store. 

Ensure the linked Custom Product Page is compatible

The CPP linked to the Today Tab may not necessarily be compatible with the ad placement directives. If you are running a regional Today Tab ad placement in Indonesia, it is recommended to link a CPP that utilizes Indonesian images and the local language. If the CPP is not localized, the Today Tab ad will not run. The iOS CPPs pick up their assets from the App Store Connect page. Therefore, continued asset updation is a necessity for good quality Today Tab ads. If the assets are only compatible with iPad, once again the Today Tab ads won’t work. 

Holding approval on the Today Tab ad

A Today Tab ad is held back for the following reasons: 

  • The CPP is incompatible with the target device and region
  • The CPP assets have been deleted from App Store Connect
  • Approval process is taking longer than expected

Today Tab ad rejection

A Today Tab ad is rejected primarily for violent, vulgar, and misleading content in the ad as well as the linked Custom Product Page. 

Linking the wrong CPP as tap destination

If the wrong CPP is linked to the Today Tab, then the campaign has to be restructured with the correct CPP linked. When the corrected ad is activated, the older ad is paused. 

Only one Today Tab ad can be executed at a time. If multiple Today Tab ads are activated, only the last one goes live, whereas all the older ads are automatically paused.

5 best practices to craft stellar Apple Search Ads Today Tab ads

Say no to misleading and controversial communications

Apple follows a strict guideline policy to ensure Today Tab ads adhere to quality standards. Ensure the Today Tab ad content - app icon, title, subtitle, and assets of the linked CPP do not sport violent or vulgar content. Refrain from over-modifying screenshots - keep them in a straight portrait format to ensure clarity of visuals. Do not use content like “Top App of the Day” or “#1 Utility App in the App Store” in Today Tab assets to avoid ad rejection. 

Utilize the placement for special ads only

The placement is all about ‘What’s Trending’. Generic Today Tab ads may not capture the user's attention since they are expecting to see all the big-bang content on the App Store home page. The Today Tab ad should be earmarked to make announcements like brand milestones, new launches, seasonal in-app events, and other forms of user delight communications. 

Remember, this placement is all about creating noise around your brand, enticing new users to check you out, and tempting returning users to re-download the app or spend more time exploring features, products, and services. 

A/B test linked CPPs to maximize Today Tab performance

Always test out variations of Today Tab ads with different CPPs. This will help you understand what kind of communication is securing instant attention and conversions. A/B testing Today Tab ads with varied CPPs gives you insight into how your users perceive the brand. This helps to make informed decisions on refining the assets in your App Store Connect. 

The CPPs of the tap destination of Today Tab ads fetch their assets from the App Store Connect account. Therefore all changes, like app icon, app title, subtitle, preview video, and app screenshots must be constantly updated in the App Store Connect account for seamless CPP generation. 

Integrate Today Tab ad measurements to MMP data

Integrate your Apple Search Ads platform to MMPs to get a full-funnel campaign performance of Today Tab ads. Since these placements are based on the user’s search and download history, it’s all the more necessary to track their performance minutely to understand if this placement is working for you. With Today Tab ads, aim to track: 

  • Impressions
  • Taps
  • Bounce rates from CPP
  • Downloads
  • Registrations
  • Retention rate
  • Engagement on the ad topic - usage of new features or participation in in-app events
  • Average proceeds per user after downloading the app


Continuous monitoring and analyzing of full-funnel performance data

Once the integration is complete, Apple Search Ads Today Tab ad performances need to be continually monitored. If the ad is not performing well, consider pausing or deleting the campaign to arrest budget leakage. If it is showing erratic performances, consider optimizing the content of the linked CPP. High bounce rates on CPP are a good indicator that there’s a mismatch between user intent and what the brand is offering. If Today Tab ads are resulting in high churn rates, it’s a clear indicator that what the CPP is saying and what the user is experiencing within the app are completely different. 

Apple Search Ads case study for Today Tab Placement 

A leading Indonesian FinTech app found resounding success with the Today Tab Apple Search Ads campaign. The brand's objective was to get more users for their convenient payments app while driving a higher ROI with Apple Search Ads as a channel. The brand was quite clear that audience engagement has to be achieved at every stage from consideration to install within the App Store ecosystem. 

  • Achieved high brand recall with the Today Tab ad placement right on the home page. These ads were shown to users who had previously searched or downloaded the app or its competitors. 
  • Maintained the targeting momentum with strategic keyword-led Search Results Page campaigns.
  • Unified campaign reporting for full-funnel performance on the Newton dashboard. These analytics helped to identify the keywords and the CPPs that drove maximum pre-install and post-install event conversions.

Within 3 months, the campaign achieved a 2.3X improvement in impressions, a 13% MoM increase in taps, and a 60% average install ratio

Globally brands have also seen quite the success with Today Tab ads. They have been able to reduce CPIs by 58%, increase TTRs by 30%, and drive download boost by 46%. Used correctly, the Apple Search Ads Today Tab ad placement is a formidable weapon in the arsenal to establish brand dominance in the App Store. 

If you would like to know more about running Today Tab ads in the App Store ecosystem, our Apple Search Ads campaign experts will be happy to help you with any queries you may have.


Similar posts