Finding the Right Mobile App Users: Google Best Practices

Pick the right goal for your campaign

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Determine what kind of users you’d like for your app

  • Pick the right campaign objective for your app 
  • Give the campaign enough data to optimize effectively

Pick the right campaign objective for your app

Let’s use an example to go through how you’d pick an objective for your Universal App campaign. 

Say you’re promoting a mobile game. You expect 1 out of 10 people who install your game to buy a $20 upgrade in the first 30 days. This $20 is a portion of the long term value you expect to see from people engaging with your app.

How should you pick a campaign objective and set your bidding to find the type of users you want?


Option 1: Pick “Install volume” if you want as many installs possible

If you’re just launching this game, you probably want to focus on finding as many users to install your app as possible for a target cost-per-install (CPI).

Since you think that 1 out of 10 users spends $20, you can afford to pay up to $2 per install (or $20 ÷ 10 installs). 

Pick the campaign objective “Install volume” and set your bidding to a target cost-per-install (CPI) of $2.



When optimizing for installs, set a daily budget for your campaign that’s at least 50 times your target CPI. So if your target CPI is $5, set a budget that’s no less than $250.

Make sure your campaign isn’t constrained by budget to get enough conversion data.


Option 2: Pick “In-app actions” if you want people to take a specific action

After launching your game, you decide to focus on those who buy a $20 upgrade. It’s one key event you’d like to focus on and it’s worth the same to you every time.

Pick the campaign objective “In-app actions” and set your bidding to a target cost-per-action (CPA) of $20. Of course, you can set this to be less if you’d like more profit.



When optimizing for in-app actions, pick ones that happen more than 10 times a day per campaign and set a budget that’s at least 10 times your target CPA. This will give AdWords enough data to learn which users perform best for you.

If you don’t get that many conversions per day, then pick another more common in-app action. Be sure to track all the events that apply to your specific app.



If you don’t know what value to start with for bidding, look at the CPI or CPA goals for some of your other online campaigns. Start there and adjust as you get more data.


Give the campaign enough data to optimize effectively

Universal App campaigns need roughly 100 conversions to recognize and apply patterns confidently to find the users you’re looking for. Once you’ve set your target goal and budget, give the campaign time to get to at least 100 conversions before making changes.



Set up a new campaign if you’re changing objectives (install volume vs. in-app actions). You’ll need a new campaign that will optimize your bids and build ads with assets tailored for a different audience.


When you review campaign performance, don’t forget to account for the usual time it takes someone to convert from a click (or the conversion delay). 

Example: Say the average user clicks on your ad, installs and opens your app a day later but takes 4 days to buy something. There’s a conversion delay. Because AdWords attributes the conversion to the day of the click, your more recent data won’t look as good since you’re missing conversions that will come later. Remove the more recent data to get a more accurate picture of campaign performance.



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