Google first launched Universal App Campaigns back in 2015, and the results were encouraging from the get go. So effective has this campaign type proved, that Google moved exclusively to UACs for app promotion in October 2017. As part of this initiative, there have been some shiny new features for us account managers to make use of...
The Asset Report
AdWords tests the different text, image and video asset combinations to find the optimum ad for achieving your goal. This optimum ad will be shown more frequently than the less effective asset combinations. However, up until September 2017 you were unable to compare how one asset compared to another, making it very difficult to report on and improve creative performance. You can now review how each ad asset performs by visiting the Asset Report in the AdWords Next interface. Google can then provide a definitive performance grouping once sufficient data has accumulated. The AdWords performance groupings are ‘low’, ‘good’ and ‘best’, allowing you to easily swap out your ‘low’ rated assets with new creative. Avoid acting on assets that are still in the ‘learning’ phase, as here sufficient data has not accumulated for Google to provide a conclusive grouping.
Different Campaign Types
Initially there was only one campaign type available in the App Install UAC. This campaign type optimises both your targeting and bids to generate app installs. This strategy is ideal when you want installs at scale and you evaluate campaigns based on target cost per install (tCPI) and install volume only. There are now a further two campaign types available within UAC, App Install Advanced & UAC Actions.
App Install Advanced is ideal if you want the users most likely to perform certain actions in your app. After you choose this option, you indicate the in-app action you value most and AdWords will work to bring you app installers who are most likely to perform these actions. This campaign type still works towards a target cost per install, so there is some degree to which you control the cost of acquiring these users. Be prepared to set a higher cost per install for this campaign type to avoid limiting the reach of your campaign.
UAC Actions are similar to the App Install Advanced in that you indicate the in-app actions you value, however here you set a desired target cost per action (tCPA). AdWords will then bring as many of these in-app actions attainable at the tCPA. Google recommends that your app receives a minimum of 300 unique in app-actions per month to run this campaign type.
So Which Campaign Type is Right for You?
If your client is interested in volume of a specific in-app action, then Google’s recommendation is to run with an Installs Advanced UAC. If your client is more concerned about controlling the cost of attaining quality app users, then running with UAC Actions is the right choice. However, do bear in mind that the volume for this campaign type will likely be considerably lower. Avoid running more than one campaign type at once in the same region, as this would result in competition and cannibalisation between campaigns.
No matter which campaign type you select, one thing that doesn’t change is the importance of thoughtful budget management. As Will pointed out in his blog article, changing budgets and campaign targets is ultimately the best way to improve the returns from your app campaigns. Using the bid simulator tool, you might find that you can dramatically increase volume without having to adjust your target CPI. However, the frequency and severity of these changes will impact the effectiveness of automation. Thus, changing budgets in no more than 20% increments, and waiting for roughly 100 conversions between each change is good practice for avoiding major disparities in campaign performance.
Universal App Campaigns have come a long way from the install-focused initiative. Account managers can now accommodate a variety of app objectives with UACs. The degree of insight into these campaigns has also improved through features like the asset report, however there is still a long way to go to improve transparency. Hopefully, Google will continue to roll out new features for UACs, with a placement tab high up on the wish list.