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, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network. Just add a few lines of text, a bid, some assets, and the rest is optimized to help your users find you.

This article covers the basics of how App campaigns work.

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, images, videos, and assets from your app’s store listing to design a variety of ads across several formats and networks.

To get started, 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. We also strongly recommend that you provide at least one landscape image, one portrait video, and one landscape video, and where relevant, HTML5 assets. Our systems will test different asset combinations and serve ads that are performing the best more often, with no extra work needed from you.

Types of app campaigns

When you choose “App promotion” as your goal, you can choose from three campaign subtypes: “App installs,” “App engagement,” and “App pre-registration (Android only).” Each campaign subtype focuses on different actions and bid strategies.

App installs

Run ads that encourage people to install your app. App campaigns for installs (ACi) may serve ads until the user completes the download event or in-app action that the campaign is optimizing for.

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

Note: Some App campaigns for installs using tCPA and tROAS bidding may serve ads until the conversion window ends.

App engagement

App campaigns for engagement (ACe) can help you re-engage customers who've installed your app and encourage them to take specific, in-app actions. Your ads can appear across multiple Google properties, including Google Search, YouTube, Google Play, and within other apps on the Display Network. Learn more about how to Create an App campaign for engagement.

App pre-registration (Android only)

Run ads that build excitement and awareness for your apps and games before they release on Google Play. After you make your app or game available for pre-registration in your Play Console, you can create an App campaign for the title. People who click on the ad can then pre-register for your app or game from the Play store.

Where your ads can appear

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

Google Search Network

Google search network ad example

For app installs and engagement, 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, ad example Google Play home page
  • Google Play search results
  • Google Play related apps section: "You might also like" and "Related to this app"
  • Google Play homepage: "Suggested for you"

For app installs and pre-registrations, 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. Ads can include your app icon, app name, developer name, and your text ideas and will link to a Play store listing, where people can install your app or sign up to be notified when the app is available.

For app engagement, Google targets people who already use your app.


Relevant pages or content on YouTube, ad. example 1 Relevant pages or content on YouTube, ad. example 2
Relevant pages or content on YouTube, ad. example 2
  • Relevant pages or content on YouTube.

For app installs and pre-registration, 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 or get a pre-registration sign up. Ads can include a video from a YouTube link, text, app icon, app store text, and ratings and appear on the YouTube app on Android devices and all smart TVs. They link to a Play store listing, where people can download your app or sign up to be notified when the app is available.

Google Display Network

Google Display Network Ad, home screen Google Display Network, Ad in mobile news website
Google Display Network, Ad in mobile news website
  • Gmail
  • Other apps
  • Mobile websites of news sites, blogs, and other sites across the Internet

For app installs and pre-registration, your ads are eligible to appear where they're most relevant on the Google Display Network and within other apps. Ad can include your app icon, app name, custom text, and a custom image or video and link to a Play store listing, where people can download your app or can sign up to be notified when the app is available. Google Ads will optimize where your ads show to get you the greatest number of conversions at your set target CPA for app pre-registrations. Learn more about targeting expansion in Display campaigns.

Discover on Google Search

Google Discover Ad example
Currently available on Android phones in the English language setting only.

Your ads can now appear on Discover on Google Search, which means that you’ll be able to serve visually-rich ads to users, according to the user’s relevant interests.

Apple will soon implement new privacy policies for iOS 14 users. These may impact your iOS campaign performance in Google Ads. If you're participating in our beta for tROAS campaigns on iOS, we recommend you pause these campaigns and revert to tCPA bidding.

Get tips to help you find the right mobile app users.

Changes in performance

You can notice how the changes you made to your app campaigns might have impacted your performance. When you’re on the “All campaigns” page or in an app campaign, click on "Change history" and review a record of your changes along with annotations on the performance chart that show you how those changes might have impacted performance.

Web to App Connect

If you run Search, Performance Max, and/or Shopping campaigns in addition to using App campaigns, you can use Web to App Connect to drive better experiences for your customers through seamless web-to-app integration. For mobile users who have your app installed, you can use Web to App Connect to help you direct customers to relevant pages on your mobile app through deep links in Search, Performance Max, and Shopping campaign ads.

Once deeplinked to a specific page in your app, your customers can easily complete their intended action, whether purchasing, signing up, or adding items to their cart. By using the Web to App Connect interface, you can also more easily track these in-app conversion actions and get recommendations on how to improve your campaign. Creating seamless web-to-app experiences for your customers can help deliver, on average, 2 times higher conversion rates for ad clicks landing in your app compared to your mobile website. Learn more about converting better with the Web to App Connect interface.

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