app marketing

How to reduce your Apple Search Ads CAC?

Apple Search Ads CAC are infamous for being on the higher side. But we have stumbled upon strategies to reduce them. Read on to know more!

There’s a myth in town that Apple Search Ads CAC are always on the higher side of the spectrum. The global iOS CPI average is at $3.60, with the gaming app CPI average at $4.30. The Apple Search Ads platform is primarily a user acquisition and retargeting platform. Any user acquisition activities do cost marketers more than other retention strategies. However, seeing how Apple Search Ads open the door to premium iOS users, the Customer Acquisition Cost may range high in the initial days. But it is all about optimizing strategies that can bring this down. In this article today, we will trace the top Newton campaigns across gaming, shopping, and finance, where we were able to significantly reduce the Apple Search Ads CAC.


Conquering the real money gaming category in the iOS App Store

In emerging markets like India, real money gaming or RMG is quickly gaining momentum for its exciting nature. Users can experience playing alongside their favorite sports idols and also earn from the platform. Unlike the Google Play Store, the App Store has been allowing the listing of such apps for quite some time. This has helped the iOS App Store algorithm to garner popular search queries around real-money gaming (RMG) apps. On the other hand, it also makes it a difficult game to rank on the App Store.

Another challenge RMG apps face is high tax requirements from local governments, which has put additional pressure to bring in more paying players. Countries like India are expected to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) as high as 28%. No wonder, high ARPU users are the priority one for the RMG sector.

Maximizing Share of Voice (SOV) while reducing Apple Search Ads CAC

Share of Voice, commonly known as SOV, is the percentage of the total impressions a brand receives on a particular keyword. The higher the SOV, the more eyeballs the brand is grabbing. If competitors have a higher SOV than the brand, it is an indication that they are losing audience impressions to other players in the category. 

If you are looking to obtain category leadership in the iOS App Store, SOV becomes a critical KPI to monitor daily. For the Apple Search Ads campaign, get started with category campaigns. We have recently released an article detailing the process of executing Apple Search Ads category campaigns - feel free to read more on this. In this context, we selected high-value category keywords that Indian players regularly utilized to search for similar apps. A competitor keyword campaign was simultaneously activated, to get more visibility traction vis-a-vis competitors. We also had a brand campaign in place to protect the app’s title keyword. 


The team constantly monitored the performances of the multiple keywords on Newton’s unified dashboard. The brand also utilized automated bid optimization to adjust bids on high and low-performing keywords. 

Results achieved: 

  • 42% increase in installs
  • 81% conversion ratio - installs to first deposits
  • 60% reduction in CAC

Scaling gamer base with reduced Apple Search Ads CAC

For the real-money gaming sector, the acquisition funnel is completed only when the users make the first deposit. It is quite challenging to convince users to complete all steps from download to first deposit. To ensure the targeted users are thoroughly convinced, this app brand executed Apple Search Ads competitor campaigns and category campaigns. This helped them to highlight their USPs as well as competitive differences, accelerating quality conversions.

The targeted keywords were optimized to garner a higher SOV. To get this done, the team refined the campaign at the following level: 

Results achieved: 

  • 10X increase in first-time deposits
  • 6.8X growth in installs
  • 37% reduction in CAC

Acing gaming app discovery campaigns while decreasing Apple Search Ads CAC

This particular gaming brand from Thailand is about 9 years old and is widely popular for the multiple online games it offers. The brand was looking to promote and acquire new gamers for two of its gaming apps. The campaigns were set to go live around their 9th anniversary. The buzz around the brand’s anniversary further propelled the impact of the Apple Search Ads campaigns

The brand chose to pursue a combination of brand, competitor, and discovery campaigns

  • Protected brand keywords to acquire users who were directly searching for the app by name
  • Competitor keyword targeting helped to boost visibility among competitor users to maximize reach and engagement
  • Discovery campaigns helped find newer, untapped high-value keywords to target
  • They also maintained an updated list of negative keywords to cut down on irrelevant ad appearances

With an AI-powered keyword recommendations tool, the brand could target both English and Thai search queries, to amplify app installs. 

Results achieved:

  • 60% increment in impressions
  • 43.5% increase in installs
  • 66% reduction in CAC

Achieving shopping and health tech category leadership on a reduced Apple Search Ads CAC

Mobile eCommerce revenue contributes approximately half to all eCommerce sales at $ 4.02 trillion. It is also quite interesting to note how app downloads increased by 27%, but in-app sessions recorded a spike of 121% within five years. eCommerce and lifestyle apps have today become the first touchpoint in deciding what we want to purchase, and when we want to purchase it. The competition is stiff with several apps getting released in these categories per week. Let’s have a look at how these three brands broke through the App Store clutter and aced their campaign KPIs while keeping a low acquisition cost.

Search Tab ads to bring down the CAC graph

South Africa is witnessing a tech and digital boom, with the region rapidly moving online to satiate their daily needs. One of the region’s largest online retailers wanted to amplify more purchases of items like fashion, electronics, beauty, and more through their shopping app. And this is how the brand reached out to its target audience.


  • Utilized the Search Tab Apple Search Ads placement. Ads here are placed based on the user’s download and search history. So any user who had previously downloaded the brand’s app or a competitor's app was shown the ads. Even users who had not downloaded, but repeatedly searched for shopping apps were also shown the ads. 
  • Executed brand, competition, and discovery campaigns simultaneously to protect the brand’s title and core keywords, maximize visibility among competition users, and find out newer but untargeted audience cohorts for campaign scale. 
  • Integrated full-funnel MMP analytics, to make informed decisions on bid optimization and bid distribution. 

Results achieved: 

  • 11X increase in impressions
  • 75% of impressions secured through the Search Tab ad placement
  • 446X growth in installs
  • 200% MoM growth in Apple Search Ads spends
  • 81% reduction in CAC

Multilingual Apple Search Ads strategy to boost ROAS and bring down CAC

One thing we have noticed - iOS app advertisers often underestimate the value of non-English keywords to bring down their CAC. Non-English keywords are high-value and indicate a high-intent audience. But at the same time, due to low competition, the bids on the keywords are cheaper. Therefore, mixing and matching English and non-English keywords is one of the first steps to have a lower CAC on Apple Search Ads. 


This app in the Middle East specializes in gifting. Their objective was to increase their ROAS on user acquisition costs while reducing the Apple Search Ads CAC. Here’s how they did it: 

  • Utilized the Today Tab ad placement to immediately grab the attention of all users visiting the App Store. This ad placement also shows ads based on download and search history. So with this placement, the brand was able to garner a high mindshare among users who had either downloaded the app previously or had downloaded similar apps before. 
  • Leveraged English and Arabic keywords for successful brand, competition, and discovery campaigns.
  • Integrated full-funnel MMP analytics to make informed data-led decisions based on the campaign performance from installs to purchases.

Results achieved:

  • 43% increase in installs
  • 2X growth in purchases
  • 300%+ ROAS
  • 54% reduction in CAC

Impact of AI in reducing Apple Search Ads CAC

This health tech app from Indonesia is truly a savior in the region. Indonesia’s archipelago-style terrain often makes it difficult for physical establishments to come up. So anything digital makes it more accessible to the Indonesian crowd. 

The app utilized artificial intelligence to figure out an exhaustive list of English and Bahasa keywords to target. These keywords were suggested basis their volume, performance index, and how popular they are with the competitors in the category. With these keywords, the brand then launched brand, competitor, and discovery campaigns to maximize the app reach. The automated Search Match of discovery campaigns helped to find more relevant category keywords, opening up newer cohorts of audiences to target. 

With predictive analytics, machine learning, and full-funnel analytics integration the Healthtech app was able to unlock higher first purchase goals.

Results achieved: 

  • 83.6% average conversion rate
  • 19.9% average first purchase rate
  • 43.6% reduction in CPI
  • 7.2% reduction in overall CAC

Delivering more value to Fintech apps on reduced Apple Search Ads CAC

Apart from digital payments and wallet apps, most Fintech apps don’t exactly witness purchases or transactions made via the app every day. Therefore, this category has historically focused on users who are themselves very goal-oriented and will commit to making regular financial asset purchases. Good quality, long-term, loyal users are the key to a successful Fintech app. Apple Search Ads provide the opportunity to tap into a premium user segment that will bring in higher ARPUs and ROAS for advertisers.

Full-funnel strategy to bring down paid iOS campaign CAC

This instant loan app from India wanted to get more users applying for instant loans through their app. The brand’s experience has shown them that iOS users show better loan closure rates compared to Android users, and therefore this audience segment is of great business interest to them. The brand was very clear to have maximum visibility in the ‘Personal Loan’ niche. 

The team used Today Tab ads to immediately enforce a strong brand recall among the iOS audience. It also prioritized targeting competitor keywords first. In this context, it was a better strategy to target educated users first who already know the concept of a personal or instant loan app, and are just looking for better services. With the right optimization, the brand received 100% SOV on competitor keywords - meaning the brand’s product page or ads popped up every time a targeted competitor keyword was submitted by users. 


They also went ahead to activate brand, category, and discovery campaigns to amplify the overall impact of the iOS campaign. 

Results achieved: 

  • Rank 1 on all top-performing keywords
  • 35% increase in loan disbursements
  • 22% reduction in CAC

Powering financial inclusion without burning a hole in the pocket

A Fintech leader from Indonesia followed in similar footsteps to maximize app usage among users. Financial inclusion is a big theme for wealth building in Indonesia. So apps need to get their message out there that online financial services are available at their fingertips. 

This particular app also chose to utilize GenAI keyword recommendation tools to get keywords in English and Bahasa to find the right audience segment to target. They prioritized competitor and category campaigns around multiple variations of personal loans. The team suggests that whenever you want to advertise to multiple target personas, utilize iOS CPPs for better and more measurable impactful campaigns. 

Results achieved: 

  • 22% increase in installs
  • 26% growth in loan applications
  • 63% reduction in CAC

Here’s hoping we changed your mind that Apple Search Ads does not necessarily have to be an expensive acquisition channel to pursue. If you would like to get more inside information on how to reduce your Apple Search Ads CAC, our team is just a call away and is always happy to help. 




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