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About universal app campaigns

So you've got an app (or a bunch of apps) that you want to promote, and you can't wait to get them into the hands of your users. How do you connect the magic to the people who want it most? Universal app campaigns streamline the whole business, making it easy to promote your Android or iOS apps across Google’s top properties including Search, Play, YouTube and the Google Display Network. Just add a few lines of text, a bid, and optional creatives and the rest is optimised to help your users find you.

This article covers the basics of how universal app campaigns work. To get started, review the best practices for promoting apps on Google and learn how to create a universal app campaign

How it works

Unlike most AdWords campaigns, you don't design individual ads for universal app campaigns. Instead, we'll use your ad text ideas and assets from your app's store listing to design a variety of ads across several formats and networks. All you need to do is provide some text, a starting bid and budget, and let us know the languages and locations for your ads. Our systems will test different combinations and show ads that are performing the best more often, with no extra work needed from you.

To help you get the best value from each download, AdWords also automates targeting and bidding. You can optimise your campaign targeting to focus on finding valuable users based on actions you care about, like in-app conversions.

Ads optimised for installs or in-app conversions

Universal app ads are generated on the fly by our system and matched to the most relevant ad inventory and placements available. To build your ads, AdWords may use your app's listing in the relevant application store, any of your text ideas, optional app images from the app store and an optional YouTube video. The system rotates your ads and adjusts bids automatically to get the most downloads for your app that meet your optimisation objective. For example, if one line of text is performing better than another, the system will show the better text more often. Learn more about universal app ads

Where your ads can appear

Your ads will be eligible to appear across Google's properties. This includes Google Search and Google Play, as well as our search partners, YouTube, the Google Display Network, AdMob and many more publishers who host app ads. Here are some of the places where your ads can appear:

Google Search Network

Google matches your ad to search terms that are relevant to your app or its category. AdWords generates your keywords using a number of methods, including using Google Play search terms that have lead people to your app.


  • Relevant pages or content on YouTube.

AdWords can show your ads on YouTube where they're most likely to be clicked, and your app is most likely to be downloaded.

Google Display Network

  • Other apps
  • Mobile websites of news sites, blogs and other sites across the Internet

Your ads are eligible to appear where they're most relevant on the Google Display Network and within other apps. AdWords will optimise where your ads show to get you the greatest number of conversions at your set target CPA (cost per install) bid. More about automated targeting

Bidding and budget

Universal App Campaigns offer two different optimisation options with two different customer objectives:

  1. Focus on getting more installs. Use the first option: "Get new users for your app". AdWords will optimise your bids and targeting to get the greatest number of new users for your app. 
  2. Focus on driving selected in-app actions. For apps with in-app actions tracked as conversions, use the second option: "Get new users who are likely to complete in-app actions that you select". AdWords will focus on people who are most likely to complete the specific in-app actions you've set up and selected for this campaign.

Cost per install bids

When you set your bids, you're telling AdWords the average amount that you'd like to spend each time someone installs your app. Keep in mind that your budget will be used to get as many installs as possible at your set amount. So, if you set your daily budget for £30, and your targeting cost per install is £3, you're aiming for about 10 installs per day from your ads.

Note that your £30 budget will be used for app installs regardless of the optimisation option you select. For example, if you optimise your campaign to drive in-app actions, you will spend £3 per install whether or not the user completes an in-app action you’ve selected. To learn more about setting bids, read About bidding in universal app campaigns

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