app store advertising

How to scale an iOS app in emerging Apple Search Ads countries?

This issue of Newton blogs traces the best strategies to scale iOS app growth in emerging Apple Search Ads countries!

About 20% of high-value smartphone users favor iOS in Asia, with approximately 42- 46% of users in Saudi Arabia. Apple is quickly starting to dominate the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and the Middle East opening up a vast audience of premium users. This trend has been of major interest among app marketers who are increasingly prioritizing ROAS and have a hard focus on ROIs from app marketing budgets. Against this backdrop, the team today will be discussing scaling iOS apps in emerging Apple Search Ads countries.

Emerging markets have always been a favorite for app marketers due to the lower cost of operations and higher returns. But with Apple rapidly grabbing more share of the smartphone user pie, the value of these markets just went higher for app marketers looking to leave a global footprint.


Why should iOS app marketers invest in emerging Apple Search Ads countries?

The potential to scale an app’s revenue is quite large in emerging markets, which coincidentally happen to be densely populated geographical regions. The cultural and economic factors also provide unique advantages to app marketers as opposed to the developed markets of North America or Europe. 

The mass is curious

In emerging markets, technology is only now taking over every aspect of life. The general mass is inquisitive about how they can harness technology and the power of their smartphones to have an easier and more productive lifestyle on the go. The region’s youth population are early adopters of tech as opposed to the Boomers and to an extent, GenX as well. They rely heavily on technology to stay in touch, navigate around towns and cities, order their essentials, for shopping, finance management and so much more. They are experimental, more open to new ideas, and willing to try out more advanced technology that can improve their quality of life. 

Control cost of acquisition

The economic factors of the emerging regions of Asia and Saudi Arabia, usually make it possible to exercise higher control on Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC), even for iOS users. Refer to the chart below: 


A key reason why iOS app marketers can look to score lower CACs in the region is the linguistic diversity, which allows them to bid on low-cost, but high-intent local language keywords

Diversity of moment marketing opportunities

APAC and KSA love their festivities. It provides ample opportunities to the marketers in this region to initiate and execute a diverse plethora of moment marketing campaigns. In short, it’s fun to market an app in this region. It gives immense opportunities to marketers to showcase how their app fits into the unique cultural nuances of their target audience, which makes acquisitions have higher LTVs and greater brand loyalty.

Increased purchase power of the youth

Middle East and North Africa boast 55% population below the age of 30. And over 60% of the world’s 15-24 age group resides in Asia Pacific. This makes the emerging markets a hotspot for grabbing the attention of Millennials and GenZ. This region is rapidly gaining popularity as the consumerist capital of the world. The frequency of purchases is higher since convenience is a norm for the region’s young ones.

Strategies to stay ahead of the iOS growth curve in emerging Apple Search Ads countries

To ensure iOS app marketers taste the success of their app in emerging markets, a few challenges need to be addressed.

Adjusting to local market trends and user preferences

The regions of the Asia Pacific and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are a melting pot of various cultures. What works in India, will possibly not work in Indonesia, Japan, or Korea. Similarly what works in Riyadh, may not work in Jeddah. As an iOS app marketer, if you are targeting this entire region, it can feel a bit overwhelming with all the cultural and local differences. However, the App Store can help with understanding who likes what. 

How to go around it with Apple Search Ads?

The Apple Search Ads iOS ad placements follow the user’s app discovery journey. The Today Tab is placed on the home page, the Search Tab ads are placed right when a user is supposed to type in a search query, and the Search Results Page ads are placed after the user has submitted a search query. 

As an iOS app marketer in the region, you must research deeply these pages of the App Store. The Today Tab home page will give you a fair idea of what kind of posts trend in the local iOS ecosystem. Is it a lot more of big announcements or in-app offers? Or is it more to do with releases of features and products? Similarly, the next step, the Search Tab will give you a fair idea of what kind of apps are popular with the local audience. Diving deep into these apps will give you insights into how to develop your default product page and who are your local competitors. The third stage, the Search Results Page, is another haven of insights wherein you can get an idea of what is the general marketing tone in the region. Do they love bright colors? Or do they prefer a muted palette? Do they prefer witty, quirky funny copies, or are they more in favor of a formal brand tone?

Appealing to a largely non-English audience

The Indian languages, Bahasa, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean makeup less than 1% of the content online. A sure shot way to the heart of the emerging market iOS users is to communicate with them in their local language. Several recent researches have also highlighted the issue of lack of language diversity on the internet, making it difficult for the bulk of smartphone users to navigate around only English content.

How to go around it with Apple Search Ads?

Apple Search Ads countries allow for default product pages and Custom Product Pages to be completely localized to the region’s dominant language. The app title, subtitle, meta description, and promotional text can be translated into the dominant local language. Even the creatives can be customized to include local representation in terms of stock images, motifs, colors, and copy used.

Additionally, iOS app marketers in emerging markets can also target local language keywords to capture the interest of a niche, but high-quality, high-intent audience. With generative AI tools, like the ones offered by Newton, iOS app marketers in Apple Search Ads countries can find out local language keywords that are popular with the masses and target them. This is a win-win situation, wherein these local keywords are cheaper to bid on, and therefore help to reduce CAC while keeping the ROAS high.


Effective utilization of iOS keywords

Continuing with the language barrier and local preferences, the way users search in emerging Apple Search Ads countries also vastly differs from English-speaking markets. Their search queries may either be in the local language or can have quite a lot of misspellings in their English search queries. They may also be inclined to input longer search queries to express their needs better to the App Store algorithm.

How to go around it with Apple Search Ads?

There are two ways to go about it. The first is by keyword type and the second is by keyword match type. 

Segregate your target keywords as per branded keywords (name, tagline, misspellings of brand name), category keywords (generic popular search terms in your app category), competitor keywords (search queries popular with the competition’s audience), seasonal keywords (special keywords related to trending social events), multilingual keywords (local language search queries), and long-tail keywords (detailed, specific search queries). You can also maintain a negative keyword list to avoid ad appearances for irrelevant search queries, saving up on precious ad dollars.


Apple Search Ads provides the flexibility to list all types of search queries as target keywords. These can be set as an exact match or broad match to ensure there’s no lead leakage for iOS ads. The automated Search Match can also help to find unique search queries that are very quintessential to the region’s audience.

Budget allocation and bid strategies in emerging markets

Since the variation of keywords to target is quite vast - misspellings, local language, seasonal, long-tail - iOS app marketers can find it difficult to categorize and organize a bid strategy for App Store success in emerging markets. You may find yourself spreading out your budget too thin, without seeing much success. 

How to go around it with Apple Search Ads?

In emerging Apple Search Ads countries, testing out campaign structures can help resolve this challenge. For starters, earmark an A/B testing budget that is to be distributed across a test campaign. Sub-divide this test campaign into ad groups - one for misspelled search queries, one for popular local language keywords, one for any immediate seasonal activity, and another for long-tail keywords. In this test campaign, play around with ad placements like Today Tab, Search Tab, and Search Results Page. Also, look at how the different match types are working for you, or if you need to look at hybrid layering your match types. Check out how they perform for pre-install and post-install phases. This will help make informed decisions on where to assign your ad dollars in terms of ad placements, campaign types (brand, discovery, category, and competitor), and how to approach a bid strategy appropriate for you across the various categories of keywords and keyword match types.

The complete picture of the iOS campaign optimization performance

Since iOS app marketing is privacy-first, getting device-level granular data is out of the picture. The data of performance metrics like impressions, tap-through rates, downloads, redownloads, retention data, or average proceeds per user is shown at an aggregate level. This often prohibits iOS app marketers from streamlining their campaign optimization strategy to maximize performance.

How to go around it with Apple Search Ads?

In emerging Apple Search Ads countries, where there’s such a diversity of marketing initiatives, it is very important to get a complete understanding of the campaign’s full-funnel performance. Full-funnel performance indicates the complete measurement and optimization of the campaign’s journey: 

  • Impressions
  • Taps
  • Downloads
  • Redownloads
  • Share of Voice indicator to understand App Store position vis-a-vis competition
  • Registrations
  • App opens
  • In-app sessions
  • In-app purchases
  • Frequency of purchases
  • User LTV/ ROAS

The complete picture helps to understand exactly which keywords, campaign types, match types, and bidding strategies are propelling App Store success. Platforms like Newton, integrate Apple Search Ads and MMP data onto a single unified dashboard for a holistic view of the overall Apple Search Ads optimization strategy. 

Team Newton has observed the following campaign successes in emerging markets by following the above-mentioned tried-and-tested strategies: 

If you are eager to learn more about scaling your iOS app in emerging Apple Search Ads countries, feel free to schedule a call with our campaign experts.

Similar posts