App-ortunity for Mobile Advertisers

Has the world of app ads ever seemed liked a black box that requires a lot of expertise—in terms of ad trafficking and asset creation—and leaves you in the dark about how to drive the maximum installs or in-app user engagement? Fret not! The answer lies in App campaigns. They use Google machine learning technology to help you find the users that matter the most (for your app) based on defined goals across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and over 3 million sites and apps—all within one campaign. Simply add a few lines of text, a bid, some creative assets (HTML5, animated and static image ads and video), and the rest is optimized by the machine learning algorithm to help your users find you.

How to get started?

It’s a straightforward process, and you’re not required to create individual ads, which makes the campaign setup easier. Here’s a summary of steps to get you started with your first App campaign:

  1. Select the campaign goal
    Choose “App promotion” (you can also opt not to choose a goal and simply select the App campaign type.
  2. Select your mobile app’s platform
    Choose Android or iOS.
  3.  Add four short lines of text ads (25 characters max).
    You can also choose to add in creative assets like videos, images, and HTML5 banners (20 each) along with the text ads
  4. Target a location
    Choose the region, country, or a radius around a particular location.
  5. Target a specific language or languages
    Select the languages your customers speak.
  6. Set your campaign’s average daily budget
    Enter the budget you want to spend each day.
  7. Select campaign optimization type
    Choose a campaign optimization goal. Install volume or in-app actions and set up a target cost-per-install or cost-per-action bid for the campaign.
  8. Enter the campaign’s start date
    The end date is optional.

Voilà! You are all set to advertise your app and reach out to a huge pool of targeted users in minutes.

What’s next after setting up your App campaign?

As with every successful marketing strategy, the world of App campaigns has solutions covering the entire length of the product life cycle: awareness, adoption, and engagement. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Bidding strategy & budget 
    For campaigns focused on app installs, you’ll set a target cost-per-install. This lets you choose how much you’re willing to pay to get a new user for your app. An acquisition in your App campaign is an install or first open of your app. For campaigns focused on in-app actions, you’ll set a target cost-per-action. This lets you choose how much you’re willing to pay for a new user for your app who is more likely to complete the event you selected.
  • Ad asset optimization 
    Though machine learning has simplified some of the crucial steps involved in App campaign management, ad asset optimization remains a vital part of it, as this is what you have the most control over when starting your campaigns: ad text ideas, creative image assets, and relevant video assets. In short, supply a healthy mix of creative assets covering supported specs.
  • Pre-registration ads (closed beta, limited availability)
    One of the latest announcements in the app-awareness space is pre-registration ads. You can build excitement for your apps or games in countries that you select before you publish them on Google Play. Users can visit your store listing to learn about, and pre-register for, your new app or game. Then, when you publish your app or game, all your pre-registered users will receive a push notification from Google Play to install it. Keep these requirements in mind: Android Application Package uploaded to at least one release track, a 90-day (max) launch date of the app or game from pre-registration, and up to two apps or games available for pre-registration at a time.
  • App campaigns for engagement (open beta)
    Though App campaigns for engagement is a fairly new product on the block, its goal is to engage users with an app or game they’ve already installed. It targets lapsed users who have either never opened an app or game after install or haven’t re-engaged recently. You can segment your user lists and customize the message and creative. For example, to re-engage users, you might offer discounts on in-app purchases.
You can build excitement for your apps or games in countries that you select before you publish them on Google Play.

Now that you are armed with some insights into getting started on your App campaign, here are a few closing suggestions:

  • Tracking
    Ensure you have mobile app conversion tracking set up (either via Firebase, Google Play, or any third-party platform). This will not only ensure a smooth data flow, but also provide uninterrupted support to Google machine learning algorithms to help them manage your App campaign efficiently.
  • Bulk changes
    Try to limit changes to ad creatives, campaign budgets, and campaign settings—and preferably perform them in bulk, if possible—as changes push the machine learning algorithms into Learning mode, thereby increasing the ramp-up time for optimal performance. You may also notice that the Learning period starts as soon as you launch a new App campaign, and that it might require up to seven days to switch to Eligible mode.
  • Bidding
    As a rule of thumb, try to keep maximum-install optimized budgets at 100–150 times your bids, and target cost-per-acquisition budgets at 10–15 times your bids—at least during launch. Once the system starts generating statistically significant data, feel free to tweak your bids and budgets based on your media goals and campaign performance.
Try to limit changes to ad creatives, campaign budgets, and campaign settings

Now you’re all set to let Google machine learning algorithms drive the maximum number of installs or in-app user actions for your app, so sit back and relax.