How to Best Promote Your App: Setting up Google App Campaigns

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Julia

If you’re an app advertiser looking to stand out and reach new users, Google App Campaigns provide you with a great opportunity to do so. Google App Machine Learning technologies find the right users and tailor your message. And the campaign also automatically tests different creative assets and channel combinations to serve the best ads to each user in each platform.

We will tell you what you need to do to launch a successful Google App Campaign. You’ll learn what they are and why you need them, how to set them up to get maximum results and how to optimize campaigns so that they bring even more value.

What is Google App Campaign?

Google App Campaigns (Universal App Campaigns or UACs) is one of the largest advertising networks to increase the number of installs and in-app actions for your app. Using Google App Campaigns helps simplify the process for you by making it easy to promote your apps on major Google resources including Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network. UACs are fully automated; you only need to set up the campaign objective, location and language targeting, and budget. 

What is Google App Сampaign for?

Optimization of Ad Placement

Google App Campaigns automatically design and optimize ads to achieve specific ad campaign goals, such as increasing installs or actions. They’re also intended for testing purposes to determine the most effective ad to further optimization of performance. A different ad is developed for each platform to maximize engagement.

Access to Multiple Platforms

One of the main advantages of Google App Campaigns is the ability to access a range of Google formats through one system. So it is easier for app developers to access different channels and thus expand the ability to reach the right audience. Here are how ads look across different platforms:

Multiple platform promotion ad

Ease of Advertising

With Google App Campaigns, you don’t have to design ads for your app by yourself. To get started, all you need to do is provide text, a starting bid, and your budget. The system does the rest for you: it will create a series of ads for various Google formats (YouTube, Google Search, etc.) using “assets” including images, videos, and text that you provide.

How to Launch Your Universal App Campaign?

To create an app campaign, you’ll need to follow the setup instructions in your Google Ads account. More details on how to do this can be found here. However, in addition to this, it’s important to keep in mind several other steps of creating a successful campaign.

Step 1. Implementing Conversion Tracking

To find new high-value users for your app, Google Ads will look for patterns in the conversion data of existing high-value users of your app. Google App Campaign needs this to get more data to create a model that will categorize users who can reach your goal from those who can’t. You can choose from a couple of conversion tracking options:

  • Using Google Analytics for Firebase or a third-party analytics tool, or
  • Using app conversion tracking and remarketing API or, for your android app, tracking conversion with Google Play.

Step 2. Defining the Goal

Defining your goal is important because it determines the bidding options you should select. The App ad will be shown to the people most likely to perform the action that drives your business. There are three options:

You can optimize for app installs

If you select app installs, you will get installs at an efficient cost per install. This is the best option if you want distribution and reach for your app. If, for example, you’re a gaming app that is just launching a new game.

You can choose App Install Advanced

If you want users to install and to take a near-term action, choose the ad option App Campaigns with Install Advanced. You will still be able to use cost-per-impression bidding, but the system will generate downloads from users who are most likely to take action in the app soon. It’ll work like booking your first taxi ride in a taxi app.

You can optimize for actions

If your goal is to increase the number of actions in the application at the target cost per conversion, then this option will suit you. An example of an action campaign is an app that wants to sell menu options instead of workouts.

In order for the optimizations to work optimally, Google recommends the following bid to the budget ratio:

  • App installs: Budget is 100 x CPI (Cost per install). If CPI is $1, then the budget should be $100.
  • App action optimization: Budget is at least 10x CPA (Cost per action). If CPI is $10, then the budget should be $100.

Try to meet these recommendations, because otherwise, the algorithms might not have sufficient data to work effectively and you will have higher CPAs and bigger fluctuations. Google also recommends having two campaigns for each region you target, one for installs and one for actions. 

Each campaign is divided into ad groups. For example, if you have different themes or features supported by your app, you can split them into ad groups and see how they work with each other. 


Google Ads Campaign structure

If you’re just getting started, focus on install-optimized campaigns while the algorithms learn to understand which users convert best from installs to in-app events. Alternatively, you can try testing your own campaigns and see which conversion optimization gives you the best CPA.

Step 3. Developing and Implementing the Right Creative

Due to the fact that most parts of the campaign creation are automated, all we can do to optimize it is add the right creative. Assets are the building blocks of Google app campaigns. You simply add text, graphics, and video assets to your campaign, and the algorithm creates great ads for you and places its combination on various Google properties such as the Play Store, Google Search, YouTube, Chrome Home, and the Google Display Network.

To ensure the greatest possible reach and impact for your campaign, you need to use varied high-quality creatives. It is recommended that you provide at least one landscape image, one portrait video, and one landscape video, as well as any HTML5 resources you may have if necessary. Here are some recommendations for making the most effective use of creatives: 

Diversity

Your assets should be as varied as possible. This will give Google’s machine learning capabilities a better chance of matching your creatives to an audience that is more likely to be engaged and take action. Try to develop variations that represent different aspects of your application. 

  • You may choose five lines of headlines, five lines of description, 20 videos, and 20 images in each ad group. There is no need of adding all the assets at once, but it’s a good idea to have a couple of different variations to let the system find a winning combination of ads. 
  • Headlines and text may serve as keywords for the algorithm and help it target the right people. The images and videos will then also be shown to these people on various networks, including Youtube, the Play Store, Display Network sites, other apps, Youtube, and more. 
  • It’s also recommended to use different themes/topics/use cases as ad groups that Google’s algorithms can use to target different audiences and topics. Thus, such themes must represent the particular distinct features and user needs. For example, as you see on the picture below, each theme is made specifically for each of the app function.
Ad theme for different app function

Keep things simple

Your assets should be clear and easy to understand, focused on one key message, not targeting an overwhelming audience. If you have a lot of messages to send, create a lot of resources. Here are some tips to keep your message clear and attractive:

  • Each text line must act as an independent resource and may be displayed with or without a description, and with or without other headings.
  • No need to use your app’s title as the title, as it will show up in the ad anyway.
  • It’s not necessary to include the “Install Now” CTA on the image since the “Install” button is still present in the ad. Moreover, per Google policy, images will be disapproved if the word “Download” or “Install” is superimposed. Avoid clickbait as well.
  • Don’t use text-only ads without images or videos because Google will pull images from your app store listing or auto-generate videos. The problem here is that such images may not work with your ad text. Moreover, you won’t know the results for them because Google won’t display them in performance columns or KPIs.

Keep in mind asset formats

  • Landscape format video – If you want to be shown on YouTube, try to create longer videos (more than 45 seconds). Display Network and Play Store use shorter and more straightforward videos. Try to do both for better reach.
  • Portrait video (9×16) – For display network. It could be from 15 seconds to 3 minutes long.
  • Square (1000×1000) or aspect ratio of 2×3 video –  Also suits for display network.
  • Landscape format image (1200×628) – Key image format for different placements.
  • Add up to five headlines using 30 characters or less for each.
  • Add up to five descriptions using 90 characters or less for each.

Step 4. Implement Deep Linking

Using deep links in a campaign increases conversions by an average of two times. Moreover, the easier it is for the user, the higher the performance will be. To set up deep linking and capture its value, you should do three things:

  1. Enable deep links using App Links on Android or Universal Links on iOS.
  2. Report conversions through Google Analytics for Firebase and link them to your Google Ads accounts to view reports.
  3. Use smart bidding to optimize mobile apps and web conversions.

To find out what deep links your app has and whether they connect easily from the web to your app, visit the App Advertiser Hub in your Google Ads account. There’s a tool called Deep Link Validator that may help you with this. In the App Advertiser Center, you can also find the Content Link Impact Calculator, which shows what can happen to your ROI if you implement deep links.

How to Optimize Campaigns?

Optimize CPA and CPI

A big role in the optimization of Google App Campaigns is played by the change in Cost per Action and Cost per InstallI. By setting the CPI too low, you can severely limit the campaign and, as a result, the algorithm won’t be able to test different resources and won’t get enough conversions. Also, the campaign won’t be placed on YouTube, as this is the most competitive place.

If you set your bid too high, the algorithm will decide that you’re getting results at a very good cost per conversion and are willing to pay more per client. With this, you will be given “budget limited” status, because, with a really high CPA, there are many resources that can be used and tested. Therefore, it’s important to test different bidding options to determine the most suitable one, where you can unblock YouTube traffic and maintain profitable CPAs. YouTube is an important platform if you want to have high growth and scale aggressively. Google searches are less effective as there may be very few searches for keywords related to your app. Display placements also don’t scale well but can still be good and profitable at times.

For more consistent results, don’t change your bid for CPA or CPI campaigns by more than 20%. If you want to switch campaign optimization from CPA to CPI or vice versa, it’s best to create a new campaign.

Consider Conversion Delays

Consider conversion delay when evaluating the performance of your campaign. Conversion delay is the time that elapses between the ad being shown and the conversion that eventually occurs. Although the cost appears in your account on the day of the impression, it may take a few days to get all the conversions. You will see that the CPI and CPA will appear to be very high, but they will drop after a while. It is important to understand this timeline for your application because only then will you be able to correctly assess the effectiveness of your campaign. Generally, the lower the conversion lag, the better for the app campaign.

Optimize Creatives

Optimization of creatives allows you to get more conversions. You can do this with Campaign Object Reporting. It shows KPIs and click-through rates, as well as performance metrics that tell you which assets you should replace. Change your creatives regularly so users don’t get tired of them. However, you shouldn’t do this too often, as each change breaks the algorithm a bit, and you want to minimize performance fluctuations. Monitor KPI and performance metrics and get rid of creatives that don’t perform well. The optimal term of the creative is 2-3 months, after which it can be changed to a new one. But don’t change everything at once – this may affect the operation of the algorithms. Making big changes is never a good idea in campaigns that use automation and machine learning. If you want to test a brand new creative theme, we recommend doing so in a new ad group.

Follow the Holistic Approach

For a holistic approach, it’s also important to make sure your app campaigns are optimized for the same goals as your web campaigns. Get a complete picture of all your traffic, both mobile and web, through analytics services such as Google Analytics. In the Google Analytics properties, you can see device data in all reports. Google Analytics can also help you target audiences for both web and app campaigns, which can then be used across devices. After the machine learning model is set up, you can create new audiences and bid on them using the matrix in the audience builder. For example, you can create an audience of users who may purchase in the next 10 days or users who may leave. Attracting an audience that is most likely to leave will help you increase your DAU (Daily Active Users) because you will retain users who are otherwise likely to leave.

Conclusion

Google App Campaign is a useful and effective network for app promotion. The main benefit of Google App Campaigns is the cumulative effect of having multiple ad placements, each working towards the same campaign goal and targeting a specific user who can take the targeted action. By combining many of these placements, the likelihood of detection and action is increased. In this article, we saw how Google App Campaigns are created to reach the right people. Also, we learned how to adjust creatives in order to successfully reach your customers and how to optimize your campaign to increase the number of conversions. 

At Qonversion, we’re happy to share our expertise and knowledge to accelerate your subscription app business. With Qonversion, you can integrate your favorite analytics platform and complement the data about your marketing attribution related to subscription apps. With integrations, you can keep track of the most critical metrics – installs, trials, trial conversions per purchase, and revenue. That allows you to attribute the effectiveness of marketing costs for subscription applications and see entire marketing attribution analytics in your favorite dashboard.