When people talk about Google advertising, they’re usually referring to either lead generation or ecommerce. But guess what? There’s a new kid on the PPC playground – Google App Campaigns.

Formerly known as Universal App Campaigns, this Google product was launched in 2015 as part of Google’s efforts to utilise machine-learning in its advertising offering. Currently, there are over 1.8 million apps in the Apple App Store, and a whopping 2.5 million in the Google Play Store, making it a very competitive market.

Google’s main aim is for its machine-learning system to analyse, in real-time, hundreds of millions of signals to show your app to users that are most likely to convert.

What Are Google App Campaigns?

Google App Campaigns are automated campaign types that help advertisers drive app installs, in-app conversion actions and - recently added – in-app conversion value. To this recipe you’re incorporating a few lines of ad copy, visual assets, a campaign objective, a budget, and a bid.

Then, Google will take those ingredients and test different asset combinations across its largest properties, serving the ads that are performing the best more often.

Where Can Google App Campaigns Run?

Your ads will be eligible to appear across Search, Google Play, YouTube, the Google Display Network, AdMob, Google Discover and many more publishers who host app ads.

How Do Google App Campaigns Work?

The goal of these automated campaigns is to show relevant ads to users while limiting the need to manually test ads to find the best performers. Unlike traditional Google Ads Campaigns where you create individual ads, app ads are generated based on the huge amounts of data held by Google’s systems.

To build your ads, Google will combine text, image, video or HTML5 assets that you upload, or assets from your app in the relevant app store. Google’s machine-learning rotates your ads and adjusts bids automatically to get the most goal completions based on your objectives. You decide whether that objective is installs, in-app conversions or target return on ad spend (tRAOS).

Two Ways to Optimise Google App Campaigns

By using machine-learning to determine where to serve the ads, Google App Campaigns give advertisers the time and freedom to focus on planning their advertising strategy through engaging creative, testing bidding strategies and adjusting budgets more effectively.

Improve your creative

Even though Google App Campaigns take the guesswork out of an endless variety of targeting variables, users will always be compelled to act based on something useful, funny and exciting.

Better creative leads to better conversions. Here are Google’s best practices for a healthy asset mix:

  1. Call to action and USPs are essential! For text, each text idea can stand alone as a complete thought and provide a clear value proposition.
  2. Upload at least 1-2 landscape images (1200x628) without text for placements on Admob and YouTube Native.
  3. Use HD images (e.g. upload 640x100 for 320x50).
  4. GIFs between 6 & 9 seconds have a 38% higher CTR than static banners.
  5. Cover top aspect ratios on video to maximize user reach and inventory: landscape (16:9), portrait (2:3) and square (1:1).
  6. Upload different video lengths: 15-30 seconds recommended to accommodate different user mindsets.

Choose the Best Bidding Strategy for Your Objectives

Google App Campaigns offer three different ways to optimise for your marketing objectives:

  1. Get more installs. This bid will help you get the greatest number of new users for your app. So, you’ll still bid for installs, as you will set a target CPI (cost per install) for each time someone converts.
  2. Drive in-app actions. If your goal is to find more valuable users in order to drive in-app actions, Google allows you to set a target CPA (cost per action). So, you can choose the average amount you want to spend each time a user performs a selected in-app action in your app.
  3. Drive in-app action value. This is still a beta for App Campaigns, where Google will focus on users who are likely to generate the best value over time. The bid that you should set is target return of ad spend (tROAS). This bid allows you to set the average conversion value (E.G. revenue) that you'd like to get for each pound that you spend on ads.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Google App Campaigns allow you to show relevant ads to users across all of Google’s advertising properties. The fact that you can target all of these properties from the same platform while using machine learning to display your best performing ads, helps you cut on time needed to manually test ad combinations.

This way, you can focus on building a brand strategy to drive more successful conversions through more effective creative, tailored bids and tested budgets.