About App campaigns for pre-registration

This article explains details about App campaigns for pre-registration. These ads link to your app or game listing on Google Play, and can run on Google Play, on YouTube (in-stream only), and within other apps and mobile websites on the Display Network.

Note: App campaigns for pre-registration only appear on Android phones and tablets.


  • Capture people’s interest in your app or game and generate an early install base for your app or game before a launch
  • Find people likely to pre-register for your app or game and to interact with the app or game after it’s released


  • Your app or game APK needs to be uploaded to at least one release track in the Play Console, and you need to launch the app or game within 90 days after you make it available for pre-registration in the Play Console. Learn how to Build awareness for your apps with pre-registration.
  • Your app or game can’t be available for install or purchase in the country you’re targeting. If your app or game is released in the country you’re targeting, Google Ads suspends ad delivery to that country. The campaign continues serving to other countries in your campaign.

Discrepancies between Google Play Console and Google Ads in App Campaigns pre-registration

You may notice significant discrepancies between paid pre-registration counts in Google Play Developer Console (GPDC) compared to Google Ads Frontend (GAFE). Here are a few crucial points to remember when using App Campaign pre-registration:

  • Google Ads is one source of app downloads, which means it will only count installs done through Google Ads. However, Google Play will automatically count installs from users who install from the Play Store directly or from other non-Google Ads.
  • The difference in date attribution between Google Ads conversions and Google Play downloads is crucial for App Campaign pre-registration due to the time-bound nature of these campaigns and the potential 12 to 24 hours delay in app status changes.
  • Google Ads counts a pre-registration conversion even if the user unregisters later. However, Google Play only counts users who are pre-registered. This is the primary reason for the discrepancies between these 2 data sources.
  • Google Ads can count more than one pre-registration conversion for the same user. This happens when the user unregisters after a successful pre-registration through Google Ads and then pre-registers again after another Google Ads interaction. However, this is not the case for Google Play.

How it works

With App campaigns for pre-registration, you can 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 that click on the ad can then pre-register for your app or game from the Play store.

You’ll set a bid for pre-registrations of your app or game. This bid, called target cost-per-pre-registration, will optimize exclusively for pre-registrations. Set the target cost per pre-registration (tCPpre) to be the average amount you'd like to spend each time someone pre-registers for your app.

Depending on where your ad appears, any original content may be added to, removed, or modified during the ad serving process. Google Ads does this to help make sure that users get a great experience from your ad, no matter when and where they view it.

Best practices

  • Turn on pre-registration before your pre-launch marketing begins, at least 2 weeks in advance. For most campaigns, 3 to 6 weeks is enough. If you expect your app or game to generate huge interest, consider starting 9 to 12 weeks in advance.
  • Offer rewards for pre-registration. With pre-registration rewards, you can give users a managed product (such as an in-game item or special character) for free after they pre-register for your app or game. You can create one pre-registration reward for the lifetime of an app or game’s pre-registration campaign. After you create a pre-registration reward, it can’t be edited or deleted. You can only offer active managed products, not subscriptions or inactive managed products, as pre-registration rewards. Learn how to Build awareness for your apps with pre-registration.
  • Localize the creative to drive higher conversions. For example, translate taglines into the local languages where you’re releasing the app or game.
  • Make sure your app is ready before launch. Stability and performance issues, device performance issues, and large app sizes can all impact the success of a pre-registration campaign.

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