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Home Blog App Store News Guideline for the Apple Search Ads(ASA) in Mainland China, Guide and Policiesy Promoters Need to Know

Guideline for the Apple Search Ads(ASA) in Mainland China, Guide and Policiesy Promoters Need to Know

Jul 7 2021

In the early morning of June 23, 2021, ASA (App Search Ads) was launched in Mainland China. At the same time, Apple also provided an "Guideline for the Apple Search Ads(ASA ASO) in Mainland China" to guide users to prepare relevant materials to successfully register an account. Recently, we have collected and summarized the frequently mentioned questions and some related information on the ASA topic. Below we will interpret the "Guideline for the Apple Search Ads(ASA) in Mainland China" in a targeted manner, so that app promoters can clearly understand the details, and execute in the app promotion process.

 Apple Search Ads(ASA)


Guide and Policies about ASA for App Promoters

The ASA ad review process is very simple

The first is the advertising review process that everyone pays attention to. The process is relatively simple. You can provide relevant qualifications as required, but basically most industries are limited to corporate accounts before they can be placed. And industry qualification issues will cause many apps to fail the android and ios ratings and reviews. In the future, Apple advertising is likely to become an advertising battlefield for mid-sized and large-brand apps.


Note on Apple’s ad review process:

1. After creating an advertising account, you may need to provide the corresponding (business) license and other related documents. Please make sure that all relevant documents match the legal entity name you provided when you created your account.

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2. Apple will review your advertising content, submitted documents and account details, and will allow you to carry out advertising business activities on the App Store in Mainland China after the review is passed.


3. If your advertising content, submitted documents and business are approved, or need to submit additional information, you will be notified.


4. Once approved, your ads in Mainland China will be available on the App Store promotion as scheduled.


The industry restrictions that individual developers cannot launch are very obvious

At present, Apple only lists some categories that may be restricted by individual developers in the "Non-Unit Entities" section of the guide. After the advertisement is opened, the restricted categories may be expanded, which is very unfriendly to personal development.


The "non-organizational entity" in the Apple guidelines refers to individual developers. It requires that individual advertisers who are not part of an organization should provide a valid "Individual Industrial and Commercial Business License" and may be restricted when placing certain types of advertising content .


The currently known restricted category information is as follows, basically covering high-net-worth industries:

Games, blind dates, travel, audio/video entertainment, finance, insurance, commercial performances, e-commerce, Internet news information services, real estate, shared travel/taxi, cosmetics, books/periodicals, employment services, mail delivery, etc.


Some categories of apps need to pay attention to age issues

In response to China's local policies, Apple will impose strict age restrictions on certain categories. This also means that in the production of materials for these categories of products, it is necessary to pay attention to the applicable age and scale of the materials, so as not to attract unnecessary "special attention from Apple Daddy." In addition, Apple’s system may automatically implement age restrictions for advertising campaigns.


The following types of advertisements should be targeted for users in Mainland China who are 18 years old and above:

Games, beauty and makeup, health food, medical care, blind dates, alcohol, etc.


"App industry qualification documents" necessary for different industries

ASA advertising in overseas regions rarely requires industry access qualifications and document requirements to be as strict and cumbersome as in mainland China. It is precisely because of the existence of barriers to entry in these industries that China's ASA advertisements now seem likely to become a traffic plaything for "high, rich and handsome" developers.


At the same time, there are only two advertising spots open for Apple ads. Compared with the tens of thousands of apps in China's iOS store, there are only a few apps that can grab this golden display spot. The demand for apps outside of the advertising display space to enter the top natural results of the search page will not be made up for by the existence of scarce advertising spaces.


However, no matter how the future policy changes, before placing ASA advertisements in different industries in China, you need to prepare relevant "App industry qualification documents" in advance, otherwise you will not be able to open an account. The details of the qualification documents required by each industry can be seen below.


Apple Search Ads ASA Policies

Ad content may not deceive users into providing personal information without informed consent or under misleading or false pretenses, or to parties that gather personal information for the purpose of reselling, trading, bartering, or otherwise misusing that personal information.

Your app title, description, images, and previews on the App Store accurately reflect the app’s intent and core experience.
Use of the Apple name, products, logo, or other brand attributes without prior approval is prohibited.

You must have all required licenses and permits for your advertising, and must provide them to Apple when required or requested.

Prohibited Content

Apple does not allow the following in advertising:

  • Discriminatory Content;
  • Defamatory Content;
  • Profanity;
  • Adult Content;
  • Controlled Substances;
  • Controversial Content;
  • Falsified Documents;
  • Inappropriate Business Practices;
  • Deceptive Messaging;
  • Deceptive Pricing and Price Claims;
  • Unlawful Advertising Content;
  • Unlicensed Advertising Content;
  • Questionable Legality.

In addition to the above, the following may not be advertised in mainland China:

  • Gambling;
  • Simulated Gambling;
  • VPN;
  • Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices;
  • Debt Collection;
  • Funeral or Burial Services;
  • Pesticides;
  • International Marriage Agencies;
  • Government Documents.

Restricted Content

You are responsible for appropriately restricting your advertising content in the countries and regions where you advertise.

Restrictions can include limiting your advertising to appropriate age audiences or having the necessary licenses or permits for the country or region. 


Examples include:


  • Alcohol: Advertising promoting the sale or consumption of alcohol, or that refers to the usage of alcoholic beverages, may be prohibited or limited in some countries and regions. All text, images, video, and audio used for promotional or advertising purposes must depict age-appropriate people and scenes.
  • Dating: Advertising for dating and related services may be prohibited or limited in some countries and regions.
  • Gambling: Advertising for gambling-related services may be prohibited or limited in some countries and regions.
  • Pharmaceutical and Medical: Advertising for content promoting pharmaceutical products, medical devices, medical services, or medical treatments may be prohibited or limited in some countries and regions.

For more information about requirements for advertising in mainland China, please read the Apple Search Ads Advertising Content Policies.

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