Finding the right mobile app users: Google Best Practices

Official guide to Universal App Campaigns.


So you’ve built an amazing mobile app. That’s great!

Now comes the hard part: finding the right people to download and use it.

This guide will show you how to use Universal App campaigns (UAC) to connect your app with the right users across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Gmail and the Google Display Network.

UAC uses Google’s machine learning technology to optimize your bids, build ads and match them with the right people for your app. With machine learning, UAC is able to analyze hundreds of millions of data signal combinations — like where and how people are engaging with an ad to make the smartest decisions for that ad — like which creative assets would perform best and how much to bid.

Read on to learn the key steps to running a successful Universal App campaign.

1. Set up conversion tracking

Track app installs and in-app activity for Android and iOS apps.

Why: Conversion data about your existing users helps Google Ads identify patterns about your valuable users in order to find new users who are similar.

Use one of these options to track conversion events for your app:

Read more about how to track in-app conversions.

2. Set up UAC based on your goal

Determine what type of users you want based on your app’s current goal.

Why: You can market your app to different types of users as your app’s business priorities change.

Goal 1: Build a user base for a new app

Create a UAC that optimizes for “Install volume” and targets “All users” to get the most installs for a target cost-per-install (CPI).

  • Set a target CPI based on the average value of a new user.
  • Let Google Ads collect enough data without running out of budget, so set a daily campaign budget that’s at least 50 times your target CPI.

Find installs that will also perform a specific action 

Create a new UAC that focuses on “Install volume” but targets “Users likely to perform an in-app action” instead of “All users.” Set a target CPI in this other campaign that’s at least 20% higher than the campaign targeting “All users.” It makes sense to pay more for more valuable installs.

Goal 2: Focus on users who complete in-app actions

Once you’ve determined which in-app action is most valuable to your business, create a UAC that optimizes for “In-app actions.” 

  • Give Google Ads enough data to identify new users who are likely to complete an in-app action. Pick an in-app action that’s completed by at least 10 different users per day in the campaign.
  • Set a target CPA based on the average value of a user who completes the action.
  • Let Google Ads collect enough data, so set a daily campaign budget that’s at least 10 times your target CPA.

 

Read more about creating Universal App campaigns.

3. Upload diverse assets to help UAC create ads 

Launch every Universal App campaign with a diverse mix of text, video and image assets that UAC will use to create ads.

Why: A variety of assets will help UAC personalize your ads for as many ad placements available.

  • Write independent lines of text that vary in length. Different ad placements have different text limits. Use correct spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Add engaging videos that vary in length between 10 to 30 seconds. Include videos in different aspect ratios, like portrait, landscape and square for the different ways people hold their devices.
  • Upload clear images across the Google Display Network’s most popular sizes to reach more people while they’re browsing mobile websites and using mobile apps.

Read more about creative best practices for Universal App campaigns.

4. Evaluate performance based on your goal

Focus on metrics that align with your marketing objective.

Why: Adjust your bid and budget based on how UAC is performing.

  • Set a time range that’s at least equal to the typical conversion delay of your ads.
  • Check if UAC is meeting your target cost per conversion over a time period that accounts for conversion delay.
  • Increase your target bid and budget if you’d like more conversion volume. Decrease your target bid if you’re like to improve your return on investment (ROI).

Read more about analyzing Universal App campaigns.

5. Guide UAC with new directions methodically

Make carefully controlled changes to improve UAC’s performance.

Why: UAC needs to collect data to find users who can meet your new target bids.

  • UAC can deliver more consistent results as it collects more conversion data. It’s ideal to wait for at least 100 conversions before making a bid change.
  • Make smaller CPI bid changes to see less variation in your campaign’s daily CPI. A CPI bid change that’s less than 20% each day can create steadier results.
  • Create a new UAC if you need to change your optimization goal, like from “Install volume” to “In-app actions” or you’d like to switch to another in-app action. Your current UAC is marketing to an audience who might behave differently than the audience who can meet your new goal.
  • Add more creative assets that resemble the assets in the “Best” performance grouping of the Creative Asset Report. Your long term goal should be to add as many different kinds of creative assets that's allowed in UAC before replacing any existing assets.

Read more about improving UAC’s performance.

 

Sign up for the Best Practices newsletter to get advanced Google Ads tips and updates right to your inbox.
Was this article helpful?
How can we improve it?