New Apple Search Ads CPT Campaigns - Transition from the CPM Model

Apple is constantly introducing new updates and features, and keeping up with them can be overwhelming.

For this reason, we’re bringing you everything you need to know about their latest big update in one place.

As of July 2022, Apple is changing the pricing model for its Search Tab campaignsfrom CPM to CPT. CPT stands for cost-per-tap and it works similarly to the classic cost-per-click model. You’ll find more details about this later in the article!

Here are some of the things you’ll find out by reading this article:

  • How Apple Search Ads CPT campaigns will work
  • What will happen to existing CPM campaigns
  • Why the shift is even happening
  • The benchmarks for Apple Search Ads CPT campaigns
  • How to determine CPT bids

About Apple Search Tab Campaigns

Apple Search Ads CPT App Store

Apple Search Tab Campaigns are a relatively new type of campaign in the App Store, available to Apple Advanced users only.

As you probably know, Apple Search Ads come in two versions: Basic and Advanced. The Apple Search Advanced version is made for advertisers with budgets over $ 10,000 per app, per month. In return for their high investments, these users get richer advertising options (advanced targeting, more metrics, etc.).

Search Tab campaigns for Apple Advanced users were launched in May 2021 – just a couple of days after the famous ATT rollout. These campaigns are quite different from the classic Apple Search Results campaigns.

Here’s how.

Just like their name suggests, Search tab campaigns allow you to promote your app directly in the App Store’s search tab. These ads consist of the app icon, title, and subtitle, and they appear before users even perform the search.

The potential result?

A huge number of impressions from millions of users who use the search tab every day.

Ever since their launch, these campaigns worked on the CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions) pricing model. However, soon, this will no longer be the case.

Keep reading for more details.

Apple Search Ads CPT Campaigns for the Search Tab

For starters, let’s clarify what CPT is, how it is different from CPM, and why this shift is happening for this campaign type.

What Is CPT Anyway?

mobile users

As we mentioned before, CPT is an abbreviation for cost-per-tap.

Basically, it’s just Apple’s term for what we know as CPC (cost per click). It is also calculated the same way – by dividing ad spend by the total number of taps on an ad.

Among advertisers, CPT and CPC ads are known to be pricey, but effective options. This is because they are only charged when the user interacts with the ad.

Apple Search Ads CPT vs. CPM

As we mentioned before, Apple’s Search tab ads have been based on a CPM pricing model for about a year.

With this model, advertisers are charged every time their ad gets a thousand impressions. It doesn’t matter if the users interact with the ad or not.

These ads are usually cheaper than CPT ads, but they bring the risk of being displayed to a bunch of people who don’t care about them.

Why the Shift?

It’s pretty simple – if something doesn’t bring in desired results, Apple will either change it or get rid of it.

In this case, they are making a change to try to make things work.

The main reason?

The CPMs for Apple Search Tab campaigns turned out to be higher than expected. According to SplitMetrics, in 2021, the average CPM for gaming apps was $ 47.1!

Besides the high prices, these campaigns have failed to drive a significant number of new users to install apps.

Common Questions About Apple Search Ads CPT Campaigns

common questions

Are you already promoting your apps in the App Store’s search tab? Or you’re planning to do it in the future?

Whatever your point of view is, you probably have some questions and/or concerns. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones.

“What Will Happen to My Existing CPM Campaigns?”

This is a fair question, and Apple has made sure to clarify it.

Once the transition to CPT comes, all existing CPM campaigns will be automatically put on hold. This means you will need to revisit the campaign setup and decide on the next steps to take.

You might also be wondering about what will happen to your historical data.

This is also nothing to worry about. All the historical data from your campaigns will remain available after the transition takes place.

“Can I Create Apple Search Ads CPT Campaigns Right Now?”

At the moment, it is already possible to book Apple Search Ads CPT campaigns in the search tab.

However, these campaigns won’t go live until Apple activates the CPT pricing model in July.

“How do I Determine CPT Bids?”

Since CPT ads are so similar to CPC ads, so is the bidding process.

This means you decide how much you’re willing to pay for a user to interact with your ad. You will do this by determining your maximum CPT bid.

While doing this, you can follow this process:

  • Determine how much you can afford to spend on a new user (eg $ 3).
  • Evaluate the percentage of users who will tap your ad and download the app (eg 35%).
  • Calculate how much you can afford to spend for every tap. In our example, this would mean multiplying 35% by 3, which results in $ 1.05.

This is a proven method advertisers use to come up with CPT (or CPC) bids.

Apple will also provide you with a suggested max CPT, but this is just a recommendation. Also, despite the max CPT bid you set, your actual cost will vary. This is because the final cost is determined by a second price auction.

“What is the Average CPT for Search Tab Ads?”

Apple Search Ads CPT benchmarks
Source: SplitMetrics

In 2021, the average CPT for Search tab ads across all categories was $ 3.85. For mobile games, it was almost twice as high – $ 6.55 (SplitMetrics).

Remember, this benchmark research was made before the introduction of the CPT model. This is simply a calculation of how much a tap used to cost with the CPM model.

With the new model, we can expect CPTs to decrease.

Apple Search Ads CPT Campaigns: Closing Thoughts

Once this transition happens, both types of campaigns in Apple Search Ads Advanced will become CPT-based. The thing is, Search Results campaigns already work on the CPT model.

Apple Search Ads CPT campaigns have obviously proven to be effective. Both for Apple and the advertisers.

Generally, most advertisers are fond of this pricing model. They simply like the fact that they are only paying for something they actually get, even if this means paying more.

That’s it from us – feel free to let us know if you have any questions!

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