Why you Should be Thinking about Universal App Campaigns

Within the plethora of apps available now – around 8 million in the Google Play Store (Statista, 2018) – trying to reach your ideal customer whilst reaching your business goals can be tricky. Increasing your brand's app visibility and building a consistent user database has never been more challenging.

Universal App Campaigns (UAC) can help your brand to get in front of the right people at the right time. Below is an overview of how a UAC can be beneficial.

1. Increase your App Installs

A few years ago, Google launched UACs to help promote apps easily on Google Play, Search, YouTube and Gmail, as well as millions of websites and apps across the Google Display Network at once. UAC uses machine learning technology to analyse specific behaviours and elements to decide where users are most likely to interact with the ads, then it positions the ads for the app in front of the users most likely to install it. According to Search Engine Land, 2017 more than 50% of the total app installs on their network were driven by UAC .

2. Drive in-app Action

However, it’s not just about acquisition but smart acquisition. Despite app downloads being estimated to increase by more than 30% this year in the UK, the average user uses only nine apps daily and around 30 in a month (TechCrunch, 2017). App installs are only half of the story as that doesn’t guarantee that the user took any action that contributed to the actual business goal. UAC allows advertisers to find the right audience which will complete a certain action after installing the app (joining a group on a game app, downloading the newsletter, in-app purchase). Google offers a list of events from which to choose depending on your app and business goals.

3. Driving In-app Action Value

Google is keen on developing this tool further to fit the advertisers’ business goals and objectives, but also to get more impactful measurements. Depending on the app purpose and capabilities you’re able to optimise towards the users that are more likely to generate the best value over time. This means that you would be able to optimise towards a target ROAS within the app. This is advised to be used after the app installs and in-app actions were trialled, to build historical data which will help UAC to ‘learn’ faster what’s the most valuable target audience for your app. According to Marketing Land, 2018 the conversion rate for in-app based sales is three times more than the mobile web which is mostly attributed to the considerably better user experience and shorter checkout process. Moreover, Criteo (2017) states that in-app purchases accounts for 44% of all transactions by environment.

Ready, Set, Go!

As UACs are based on machine learning, so all you need to start driving app-installs and increase your visibility is your app, your landing page, four lines of text and images or a YouTube video. Ideally, upload as many images and videos as you can as AdWords will be able to adapt the ads to different backdrops for different types of users. The last step is to decide on your campaign goal, language and location and …you’re all set to go.

If you’ve decided that in-app actions are far more important for achieving your objectives the requirements don’t change, but you’ll also need to third-party conversion tracking to be able to track in-app events e.g. Firebase analytics. Besides the in-app events that will be reported in Adwords platform, you’ll be able to report on the user’s lifetime value, the average revenue per user and really understand your target audience value.

UAC has been around since 2015, but according to Google, the tool is still at its infancy stages promising a lot of interesting changes in the next years that will take the app promotion to a whole new stage. What this means is that if you haven’t started promoting your app using UAC, the environment is going to get even tougher if your competitors are leveraging this machine learning tool and really affect your app visibility.