- Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UAC), which use machine learning to improve ad performance, have proven to be so successful, Google is moving all AdWords app install campaigns to UAC this fall, per a company blog post. The key dates in the change are Oct. 16, when new app install campaigns created in AdWords begin running on UAC, and Nov. 15, when existing search, display and YouTube app promo campaigns stop running.
- How successful are UAC campaigns? The blog post noted advertisers optimizing for in-app actions with UAC saw an average of 140% more conversions per dollar compared to other Google app promotion products. UAC campaigns rolled out two years ago for Google Play, Google.com, YouTube and the Google Display Network.
- Google has delivered more than 6 billion installs in total, according to data provided to TechCrunch. In 2016, the company said the total number of installs it had delivered was 2 billion. UAC delivers more than 50% of all app downloads from ads, and its machine learning algorithms analyze more than 300 million potential signal combinations in real-time.
With UAC, Google is using machine learning and a data-driven approach to “take the guesswork out of digital marketing for apps,” said Bill Riddell, digital media manager for Chacka Marketing, in a statement made available to Marketing Dive.
Google recognizes that app install campaigns are an important format for developers, who invest significant resources into creating apps but can struggle to get noticed in a crowded market. Last year, eMarketer forecast that U.S. mobile app install ad spending would total $5.7 billion in 2016, up 69.6% from 2015 and accounting for 12.5% of total mobile ad spending.
The space for app install campaigns is getting more competitive, so Google's move is also likely meant to help it shore up its role here. With UAC, developers can create a single campaign and reach consumers while they are browsing and watching on YouTube, searching on Google.com and engaging with apps and sites across the Google Display Network.
Facebook has offered app install campaigns and several other social media platforms have ramped up their offerings in the past year, including Twitter with native app install ads, Pinterest's expansion of Promoted App Pins, Snapchat with new app install bidding options and Instagram's test of app install ads for Stories.
Marketers are looking for ways to boost their app install ads, per a recent survey by AdColony, which pointed to video and playable ads as two areas of interest.
The Google blog post urges advertisers to move their app install campaigns to UAC as soon as possible and laid out a three-step process to do so. Advertisers should review their current AdWords app promotion campaigns; create a new UAC and set the right performance goal such as drive app installs, deliver in-app actions or build in-app action value; and set the right bids using the average CPI, CPA or ROAS of existing campaigns as the starting point for UAC performance goals.
Google is rolling out UAC for AdWords at a time when in-app ad spending is expected to triple by 2021. A recent report from App Annie predicts in-app ad spending will reach $201 billion worldwide over that forecast period reflecting a global advertiser mobile spend growing from $13 to $52 per user.