About App campaigns

As an app advertiser, you want to get your app into the hands of more paying users. So, how do you connect with those people? App campaigns streamline the process for you, making it easy to promote your apps across Google’s largest properties including Search, Google Play, YouTube and the Google Display Network. Just add a few lines of text, a bid, some assets and the rest is optimised to help your users find you.

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

Ready to advertise your app? Click here to set up your App campaign. 

How it works

Unlike most Google Ads campaigns, you don't design individual ads for 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, Google Ads 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, in-app conversions or target return on ad spend (tROAS)

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, Google Ads 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 ads in App campaigns.

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. Google Ads generates your keywords using a number of methods, including using Google Play search terms that have led people to your app.

Google Play


  • Google Play search results
  • Google Play related apps section: "You might also like" and "Related to this app"
  • Google Play home page: "Suggested for you"

Google can show your ads to people who search for terms and apps that are relevant to your app. Your ads can also show to people who visit the app details page of an app that's similar to your app.



  • Relevant pages or content on YouTube.

Google Ads 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

Google Display Network Ad, home screen    

  • Google Mail
  • 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. Google Ads will optimise where your ads show to get you the greatest number of conversions at your set target CPI (cost-per-install) bid. More about automated targeting.

Campaign optimisation and bidding

App campaigns offer three different ways to optimise for your marketing objectives:

Focus on getting more installs. Google Ads will optimise your bids and targeting to help you get the greatest number of new users for your app. The bid that you set should be the average amount that you'd like to spend each time someone installs your app. As an advanced option in the new Google Ads experience, you can target users likely to install and perform a specific action. For this option, you will still bid for installs.

Focus on driving in-app actions. If your goal is to find more valuable users, and you have the key in-app action tacked as a conversion event, use this option. Google Ads will focus on people who are most likely to complete the specific in-app actions that you've set up and selected for this campaign. Set the target CPA (cost-per-action) to be the average amount that you'd like to spend each time someone performs the selected in-app action in your app.

Try driving for installs or in-app actions before considering this third, more advanced option.

Focus on driving in-app action value.  For campaigns focused on in-app action value, Google Ads will focus on people who are likely to generate the best value over time. The bid you set should be the average conversion value (for example, revenue) that you'd like to get for each dollar you spend on ads. This is called the target return-on-ad-spend (Target ROAS). If your goal is to ensure that users spend $0.5 of in-app purchases during the conversion window for every $1 of ads that you spend, you’d set a target ROAS of 50%. 

To use this bidding strategy, you'll need to install the Google Analytics for Firebase software development kit (SDK) in your app. The conversion events that you're bidding on (and sending values with) should also come from the Firebase SDK.

To learn more about setting bids, read about bidding in App campaigns.

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