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Finding the Right Mobile App Users: Google Best Practices

Promote your app with universal app campaigns

Create a universal app campaign to find more of the users that you want

The universal app campaign is a campaign type that helps you automatically find more of what you want for your app: whether that’s users who will likely install your app or complete in-app actions you select.

With just four inputs, you can reach all potential users in the moments that matter – whether they’re searching on Google Play or Google Search, watching on YouTube, browsing sites or using mobile apps on the Google Display network. The campaign automatically optimizes your bids, targeting, and ad creative to find more of what you want across all these traffic sources – within your budget and target CPI (tCPI). It does this by using hundreds of different types of signals at the same time to predict whether someone is going to be the user you’re looking for.

Note for iOS apps:

The universal app campaign is now available for iOS apps. Ads for your iOS app will show across the Google Display Network (mobile apps and sites), YouTube and the Google Search App.

It’s a simple, automated solution that keeps you in the driver’s seat by:

  • Giving you control over what key performance indicators (KPIs) you’d like to optimize for — whether that’s reaching users likely to install your app or users likely to complete in-app actions
  • Saving you time from having to manage and optimize separate campaigns for each network

Setting up your campaign

Create one campaign focused on either installs at scale or users who are likely to complete in-app actions. For the latter, remember to pick an action that will give AdWords enough data to make decisions (happens >10 times a day and has >5% conversion rate).


If you’re managing multiple AdWords accounts for your campaigns, link them to avoid double counting in-app events.

Managing your campaign

It’s important to note that the campaign typically needs up to 7 days to test and find what works for your specific app. Expect this “learning period” to last up to 1 week — or less with more conversion volume.

Once you’ve set your bids and budgets for the campaign, give the campaign 1 week to learn before making any changes. Make sure to account for conversion delays if you’re evaluating performance based on in-app actions.

When you do make tCPI bid changes, don’t adjust bids by >20%, and try to wait until you’ve received 100 conversions at your new bid before making additional changes.

Things to keep in mind when you’re optimizing for users likely to complete in-app actions:

  • You pay for what you get. Set a tCPI that’s higher than what you bid for standard installs. Calculate your new bid based how much more an engaged user is worth to you.
  • Uncap your budgets. Since you’re increasing bids, make sure campaigns don’t run out of budget so that your ads keep showing to all potential users.
  • Your tCPI is not your tCPA. Back into your tCPI from your target cost-per-action (tCPA) by calculating how many installs perform the desired action.


You’ll need to start a new campaign if you’d like to start finding new users likely to complete a different action than the one you’ve been optimizing for. AdWords will need to collect new information to make decisions on how to optimize your bids, targeting, and ads for this new action.

Try it now


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