Make better creative assets for App campaigns

Creative assets are the ingredients used by App campaigns 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 can't be guaranteed, even if all guidelines are followed. We recommend checking your asset report and iterating regularly.

All ad content must adhere to policy guidelines and personalised advertising guidelines.

General asset guidance

Align with your brand’s goals, voice and style

While these guidelines are correlated with advertisers' success, each business is unique. You should evaluate every best practice against the needs of your business, and make sure that 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 (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 (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 (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 that you want to highlight, or user demographics that you want to engage. Your assets should thus represent those distinct features, messages and user needs (for example, upload sushi-themed creatives in one ad group to attract sushi lovers, and pizza-themed creatives in another ad group for takeaway 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 maximise 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 minimising 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, recognisable visuals and strong audio to attract and hold user attention.

Note: Per Google policy, images will be disapproved if the word 'Download' or 'Install' is superimposed.

Replace low-performing assets often

Keep a close eye on your asset reports. After they exit the 'Learning' status, they will be labelled with 'Low', 'Good' or 'Best' asset rankings. If you haven't uploaded the maximum permitted number of assets, add assets similar to those ranked as 'Best'. If you have reached the maximum permitted number of assets, replace assets ranked as 'Low'. Do so gradually to minimise performance fluctuations.

Use the highest quality assets

When you submit high quality creative assets, your ads have a higher likelihood of performing well over a long period of time. This is because high quality creative assets are more likely to attract the attention of potential customers. However, lower quality creative assets may impair campaign performance due to lower audience reach. Maximising your asset quality will ensure that your ads achieve the highest audience reach across all of our properties.

We've outlined some quality guidelines for the various asset types that you submit for your ads.

Note: We are constantly evaluating how we define quality, and as a result, the best practices found in this article today are subject to change.

Text assets

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.

Give clear calls to action

Use the text on your buttons to reinforce the goals of your campaign:

  • To drive installs, the text on your button should reflect the act of installing (for example, a prompt to 'Download now' or 'Play now').
  • To drive purchases, the text on your button should highlight sales, discounts or items for purchase (for example, 'Get £5 off' or 'Save now').
  • To increase retention or re-engagement, the text on your button should highlight lower-funnel or newly available features to incentivise users to interact (for example, 'See 100 new items' or 'Try it today').

Avoid clickbait and hyperbole

  • Hyperbolic phrases, questions and statements that are crafted in a way to make a user click on an ad are not allowed.
  • Avoid using phrases with vague references to 'this' or 'these'.

Comply with all style rules

To prevent rejections, all ads should comply with style rules. Here are the most common reasons for ad rejection, along with examples.

Don't use:

  • Sensationalism, including excessive exclamation marks (for example, 'You’ll never believe what happens next')
  • Emojis
  • Punctuation or symbols that are not in line with their intended purpose (for example, '@home' to mean 'at home')
  • Improper capitalisation (for example, 'SALE, S.A.L.E., SaLe')
  • Improper spacing (for example, 'Sell,buy trainers', 'T R A I N E R S')
  • Improper grammar
Tip: Two text headlines can't be used in combination if they both end in exclamation marks.

Image assets

Appeal visually

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, colour-inverted or excessively filtered images.

Images should have high pixel density

Pixel density isn't only a visible signal of quality, but a higher pixel density ensures that your image is properly rendered when resized or displayed on high-resolution screens.

Utilise 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, logos or calls-to-action on the image

Overlaid 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, hoardings, etc. If text or logos are superimposed, they should be kept minimal such that they don't take attention away from the image. Images with little or no overlaid content will benefit from higher audience reach. Overall, we recommend limiting overlaid elements to cover less than 20% of the image’s surface area.

Tip: To ensure placement across all channels, upload images without any superimposed text or logos.

Avoid clickbait and hyperbole in images

Similar to text assets, images should avoid visuals or text that entice the user to click via sensational or outrageous content.

Video ads

Emphasise app experience over story

While emotional appeal and storytelling remain important, your videos should get to the app experience as quickly as possible. Use tightly framed shots (close-ups of your characters and the UI) to help viewers focus on features that 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 two to three seconds. Our research into successful app video ads shows that, on average, they contain 2+ cut changes within the first five 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 emphasise branding and calls to action. As some inventory defaults to audio off, captions should be included.

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.

Note: Since all video assets are served from YouTube, you must upload directly to this platform to be eligible for selection.

HTML5 assets

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 tap, swipe, drag and drop, pinch to zoom and shake.

Include instructions

Viewers don't expect ads to be interactive, so provide quick, instructional captions before the play begins. The goal is to have viewers performing the desired interactive actions within three or four 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's highly recommended that both are positioned next to each other on the top bar.

Include captions

As HTML5 asset types do not include video or audio, captions should be utilised. Ensure that captions are clearly legible on a variety of screen sizes.

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