Finding the right mobile app users: Google Best Practices
Make better creative assets for App campaigns
Creative assets are the ingredients that App campaigns use to create ads. This article provides best practices for developing creative assets, including text, image, video, and HTML5, that can improve your App campaign performance and reach. For more technical guidance, such as the specifications of assets accepted by App campaigns, please see how to create an App campaign.
The recommendations in this document are intended only to provide directional guidance. As each campaign is different, performance cannot be guaranteed, even if all guidelines are followed. We recommend checking your asset report and iterating regularly.
General Asset Guidance
Align with your brand’s goals, voice, and style
While these guidelines are correlated with advertiser success, each business is unique. You should evaluate every best practice against the needs of your business, and make sure they align with your campaign objectives.
Align with your campaign goals
Your creative assets should reflect the specific goals of your App campaigns. For example:
- To drive installs, your assets should reflect the act of installing (e.g., for example, a text creative prompting the user to “Download now!” or “Play now.”)
- To drive purchases, your assets should display sales, discounts, or items for purchase (e.g., for example, “Get $5 off your first order”, or an image portraying a promotion)
- To increase retention or re-engagement, your assets should highlight lower-funnel or newly available features to incentivise users to interact (e.g., for example, “Over 100 items just in!”, or a video depicting updated gameplay)
Align with the respective ad group’s theme, if applicable
Ad groups in App campaigns allow you to “group” your creative assets around specific app features or messages you want to highlight or, user demographics you want to engage. Your assets should thus represent those distinct features, messages, and user needs (e.g., for example, upload sushi-themed creatives in one ad group to attract sushi lovers, and pizza-themed creatives in another ad group for takeout fans).
Diversify creative assets
Asset variety allows App campaigns to create more ads that can resonate with different users. It can also help your ads qualify to serve more broadly across ad channels. To maximize ad combinations and placements, we encourage you to upload up to the maximum number of assets allowed for each asset type - 4 for text, 20 each for images, videos, and where applicable, HTML5. This can have the additional benefit of minimizing performance fluctuations when refreshing creative assets.
Google Ads won’t translate your ads, so take care to choose the correct languages when setting up your campaign. Then pick all the countries that have people who can speak those languages. Targeting broadly can reach more users who can meet your goals, and gives our machine learning models more data with which to refine your campaigns.
Engage your audience
Assets should use conversational text in headlines and descriptions, recognizable visuals, and strong audio to attract and hold user attention.
Refresh on a rolling basis every 2-3 months
Keep a close eye on your asset reports. Gradually substitute poorly-performing assets for new assets to minimize performance fluctuations.
Submit independent, complete thoughts
Write standalone phrases of text that vary in length, using correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and work in any order. Google Ads will automatically mix and match each phrase to offer you alternative versions of ads that could improve performance.
- Focus each phrase on a single, distinct app selling point.
Comply with all style rules
To prevent rejections, all ads should comply with style rules. Below are the most common reasons for ad rejection, along with examples.
- Sensationalism, including excessive exclamation points
(for example, “You’ll never believe what happens next!” )
- Punctuation or symbols that are not in line with their intended purpose
(for example, “@home” to mean “at home”)
- Improper capitalization
(for example, “SALE, S.A.L.E., SaLe”)
- Improper spacing
(for example, (“Sell,buy sneakers”, “S N E A K E R S”)
- Improper grammar
Advertisements are a reflection of your brand. Your image assets should be appealing and not detract from your brand credibility. We recommend that you avoid using skewed, oddly shaped, morphed, upside-down, unclear, color-inverted, or excessively filtered images.
Images should have high pixel density
Pixel density is not only a visible signal of quality, but a higher pixel density ensures your image is properly rendered when resized or displayed on high resolution screens.
Utilize the entire frame
An ad feels more natural if it matches the shape, size, and positioning of native content. There should be no blank space between the edges of the image asset and its frame.
Limit blank space in the image
Blank space should not occupy more than 80% of any image. The subject of the image should be the main attraction, and it should occupy more space to be visually salient and easier to see on smaller screens.
Avoid superimposing text or logos on the image
Text should not dominate any image. Ideally, any text or logo in an image would be organically integrated, such as on product packaging, clothing, signs/billboards, etc. If text or logos are superimposed, they should be kept to a minimal such that it does not take away attention from the image.
Emphasize app experience over story
While emotional appeal and storytelling remains important, your videos should get to the app experience as quickly as possible. Use tightly framed shots (close-ups of your characters and UI) to help viewers focus on features they can use in-app and their benefits.
Grab viewer attention
- Mobile users have short attention spans, so aim to grab their interest within the first 2-3 seconds. In our research of successful app video ads, we also find that on average, they contain 2+ cut changes within the first 5 seconds, which helps deliver a dynamic sense of the app experience.
- Audio is an easy way to create another layer of connection with users. Use audio and music to emphasize branding and calls to action. As some inventory defaults to audio off, captions should be included where relevant.
Brand throughout your ad
Introduce branding early and whenever possible, show it throughout your ad.
- Show branding as part of the app (in shots), on the sides (in vertical ads), through audio cues - or with a combination of the three.
Diversify and experiment
Experiment with creating videos around different themes (for example, comedic vs dramatic), styles (for example, serious vs comedic), or subjects (for example, one use case or benefit of the app vs another). This improves your chances of resonating with different audiences.
HTML5 assets can be more difficult and expensive to create than the previous asset types. We strongly recommend uploading the maximum number of text, image, and video assets before building for HTML5.
Design with mobile device capabilities in mind
HTML5 assets are interactive, so mobile device capabilities should be carefully considered as part of their design. Common ways that people interact with HTML5 ads include the following: tap, swipe, drag and drop, pinch to zoom, and shake.
Viewers do not expect ads to be interactive, so provide quick, instructional captions before the playable begins. The goal is to have viewers performing the desired interactive actions within 3-4 seconds.
Include clearly visible branding throughout
Your app logo, along with an “install now” or “download now” button, should persist throughout the ad to lend legitimacy and prevent rejections. It is highly recommended that both are positioned next to each other on the top bar.
As HTML5 asset types do not include video or audio, captions should be utilized where relevant. Ensure that captions are clearly legible on a variety of screen sizes.
Look for an official Google preferred creative agency partner to help with building or optimizing your creative assets.
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