How to Best Promote Your App: Google App Campaigns and What They’re For

Sabina Shukyurova avatar
Sabina Shukyurova

Mobile experience and app usage in particular are growing as never before. This is partially driven by the overall shift to mobile and on-the-go experiences, and partially — by the pandemic. According to an April 2020 InMobi survey, 80% of US smartphone users had increased the time on their mobile devices in response to the coronavirus. The global mobile app revenue is also continuously growing every year. All this means: if you have an app, it’s high time to let everyone know about it and make sure you promote it in the best possible way. And Google has an excellent solution for that, which is simply called App Campaigns. 

App Campaigns in Google: What they are and what they’re for

So what are Google App Campaigns? Basically, this is the main tool to promote your apps, which is very easy to set up and manage. 

Previously, they used to be called “Universal” App Campaigns (UAC) — the name you can still come across occasionally. They are universal for two main reasons: the way they go about networks and the way they go about ads. As for the networks, in order to maximize the efficiency you don’t have to choose them manually — the Machine Learning algorithm does it for you, choosing the best inventory to achieve your goals. As for the ads, app campaigns do not have any “set” ads that you have to create, input and show to users. Instead, their work is based on assets (e.g. texts, images, videos), which are combined together to build the ads. This way you get a great variety of combinations of ads that are later tested by the ML algorithm to pick the best one for each auction. Thus, App Campaigns are very easy to set up and manage: you don’t have to worry about different parameters of the auction or choosing the best ad, it’s already been taken care of. 

How to Set up Google App Campaign

But what is actually important to think of when working with App Campaigns? Use your expertise and business knowledge to focus on more strategic efforts. For instance, one of the most important strategic aspects is to align your App Campaigns with your current product development stage. There are three main stages of a product life cycle, namely pre-launch, growth and maturity. These have their own unique goals — and in order to cater to each goal, three variations of Google App Campaigns have been developed. 

The pre-launch needs are most often exhibited by the Gaming industry, where it’s important to notify users of another upcoming title. To this end, you can use App Campaigns for Pre-registration and build awareness for your apps and games prior to publishing them on Google Play.  

During the growth stage — the one, where your main goal is to build and grow your user base – you would greatly benefit from App Campaigns for Installs (ACi). These are targeting users who do not have your app yet, and their main objective is to encourage people to install your app. ACi campaigns themselves could be divided into different subtypes, depending on the specific objective they are optimizing towards. In particular, there could be 

  • Installs – (yes, within App Campaigns for Installs!) – when ramping up your user base is the paramount goal; 
  • Actions when you’d prefer users who would be likely to perform a particular action (e.g. register, subscribe, make a deposit, make in-app purchases) and
  • Value – when you focus not so much on the user growth, but on the return on your ad spend. 

Finally, App Campaigns for Engagement (ACe) address the needs of later growth and maturity stages, when leveraging your existing user base is becoming more important: you want to keep the users engaged, reactivate some of their behaviors, etc. Moreover, only 37% of installed apps remain in use after 7 days[1]; and quite often – people just forget what they have downloaded. For this reason, it might be more economically rational to reactivate your current user than to get a new one. And ACe campaigns help you here: they are targeting users who already have your app, and encourage them to take a specific in-app action. This actions should be based on your goal for a specific user list: for example, you might want to activate a user (e.g. they installed the app but never subscribed); reactivate them (e.g. they haven’t used your app in the last 30 days), cross-sell (e.g. they’ve ordered a cab, but never ordered food), etc. 

Google App Campaigns are essential for promoting your apps, they are easy to set up and manage and they are able to address various needs at different stages of your product life cycle. In order to get more in-depth information on App Campaigns, please have a look at this video tutorial as well as earn a Google Ads Apps Certification at Google Skillshop. And if you’re willing to learn how to best address video creatives for App Campaigns — stay tuned, there’s more to come! 

At Qonversion, we understand how important it is to know how budgets are allocated to campaigns, how and where your marketing dollars are going, and how well an individual campaign is performing. If you want to access the most accurate subscription app data, Qonversion is here to help. If you’d like to learn more on how to set up Google App campaigns — please read this article.


[1] Verto Analytics, 2018