8-MINUTE READ · By Misty Faucheux on September 18 2017.
In this post, we break down everything you need to know about Google Ads’ universal app campaigns.
How app install campaigns used to work on AdWords
Before we dive into the new campaigns, let’s review app install campaigns. The purpose of an app install campaign was to get people to download your app. Similar to other campaigns, you could target specific types of users via contextual targeting, app ID, keywords, mobile operating system and more.
The main difference between this type of ad and many others is that your ads would be only run on phones and tablets. Since the goal was to get someone to add your app to their mobile device, showing these on desktops or laptops wouldn’t make a lot of sense.
We’ve all seen app install ads at some point in time. For example, if you’re searching on your phone for Southwest Airlines, something like this might come up.
In the past, UAC was only used to target CPA while you can target CPC, CPV (YouTube) and CPI with app install campaigns. You can now do all of these with Universal App Campaigns.
What are universal app campaigns?
While UAC work similar to app install campaigns, they differ really in three key areas. One, UAC leverage machine learning technology to locate customers that are most likely to download your product. Two, universal app campaigns do the work of building the ads for you.
You simply select the app that you want to use, and AdWords will create the ads for you. You can upload your own video and image assets, but you don’t need to worry about actually creating the ads. Google will use what you have provided to produce ads for the mobile devices. This eliminates the pain of ensuring that your ads are the right size.
The third difference between the two is that UAC can run anywhere across multiple networks within a single campaign, including Google Play, YouTube, Google Search and Display Network.
Reason for the switch
One reason Google decided to permanently embrace the UAC is that they’re simply more effective. According to advertisers who have been optimizing for in-app actions with UAC, they’ve seen on average 140% more conversions per dollar over other Google app ads. Google likes to ensure that they’re advertisers are experiencing the best success they can.
Yet, we should be cautious about this. In the past, mandatory changes have resulted in mixed results. For example, the expanded text ads didn’t do so well when they were first launched last year. Many companies held on to their standard text ads because they found that they were simply performing better. Unfortunately, we’re not going to get the opportunity to run standard app install campaigns next to UAC. According to Google, these campaigns will be immediately phased out.
Yet, if everyone is forced to make the move, it might level the playing field and reduce the drastic differences we saw with standard and expanded text ads.
How to create a new UAC campaign
Google recommends that you start with reviewing your current ads to determine the top-performing ones. You can download these assets, and upload them to the new UAC.
Create your new UAC by clicking on +Campaign and selecting universal app campaign.
You can add up to 20 images, and they must be .jpg, .gif or .png files up to 150KB. You can also upload up to 20 YouTube videos. You can set your language as well as target areas on this screen. Google will not translate your ads into other languages so be sure that your selected languages match your text.
Now, go to Campaign Optimization, and select whether you’d like to optimize your campaign for Installs (obtain new users) or In-app actions (perform actions within previously installed apps).
Finally, enter your budget, and select Save and continue. Do this for all your existing campaigns and any new app install campaigns that you wish to set up.
If you have existing app install campaigns, you should start migrating one or two over to a UAC to test how the new campaigns work. Since you have until November 15th before your current app install campaigns will be shut off, take your time and figure out how these work and how to set them up.
You should, however, ensure that you have everything moved to the UAC long before the cutoff date to prevent your campaigns from being permanently turned off. Put together a list of all of your app install campaigns, and select migration dates for each one of them, especially if you’re running multiple campaigns. Breaking up the migration process will reduce stress and guarantee that you have successfully moved your important campaigns to the new platform.
About Misty Faucheux
Misty Faucheux is an Integrated Online Marketing Specialist at Faucheux Enterprises and a guest writer for Supermetrics. She is a digital marketer, specializing in SEO, SEM, content marketing/writing and social ads. Misty helps companies develop a cohesive online marketing strategy that directly addresses their overall business goals and objectives. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Flickr.