Google App Campaigns: 8 New Tools & Tricks You Need to Succeed
- by Brian Bowman | August 1, 2019
- Facebook Advertising
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There are digital advertising channels, and then there’s Google App Campaigns. The platform is a breed apart in many ways. It does most of the heavy lifting for advertisers, from building ads to automating routine tasks to fine-tuning campaigns. It also offers unbeatable reach.
The only thing Google App Campaigns won’t do is design creative elements (images, video, and HTML5), which it wisely leaves to humans.
This summer, Google App Campaigns will start to look a bit more like Facebook in terms of what advertisers can do to tailor their bidding, creative, and targeting. Below, we’ll explain how you can take full advantage of these new features to optimize your user acquisition campaigns.
3 New Features Designed to Enhance Return on Ad Spend
Coming July 2019, these new features will allow user acquisition managers to tailor their campaigns even more and ensure the best possible use of their ad spend.
1. Value Bidding
Value bidding, or target return on ad spend (tROAS), has been available to Facebook advertisers for some time. With this new Google App Campaigns feature, you’ll get more value out of your ads by paying more for users who will likely spend more and paying less for other users. You’ll also be able to set multipliers for tROAS bids so you can target users who are likely to spend at least twice the cost of acquiring them. If your daily budget is $200 and tROAS is 20%, your goal is to get about $40 of value from your ads.
2. Similar Audiences
This is similar to Facebook’s Custom Audiences, which allows advertisers to target new users who are similar to existing users. Google App Campaigns will use machine learning to update similar audience lists in real time. Pairing this feature with value bidding could radically improve your return on ad spend.
3. Ad Groups
An ad group features multiple ads with similar target audiences. Soon, Google App Campaigns will allow you to create multiple ad groups as part of a single campaign, with each ad group promoting a different theme or message for distinct customer groups.
Ensure Google App Campaigns Success with These 5 Best Practices
Getting started with Google App Campaigns is easy. The hard part is knowing how to maximize ROAS. It’s a complex equation with many variables: strategic priorities, timing, value targets, creative quality, and more. These expert tips will help you lay the foundation for a winning campaign.
1. Deploy Ads Before You Launch
Start building your user base before launch day. Google App Campaigns’ pre-launch campaign tool allows users to register before an app is available and sends push notifications when the app is ready to download.
This is an excellent tool that delivers big returns: higher D1 and D7 install volumes, 38% conversion to install on average, and higher conversion than with external pre-registration sources.
2. Refine Your Bidding Strategy
With a target CPA (tCPA) bidding strategy, you can maintain a set cost per acquisition while still getting as many conversions as possible. AI will automatically optimize your bids, but you can tailor your bids with auction-time bidding.
Here are a few things you’ll need to consider before setting a CPA/CPI bid or making any changes.
- Set bids early in the day. This will allow you to be competitive, but you’ll also have room to begin tapering the bid down once your campaigns have achieved enough event volume each day.
- Start tCPA bidding at a minimum of 10X. This will let you ramp up your campaigns quickly. Also, test a bid-to-budget ratio of 20X once you’ve got some campaign history established. 20X bids will often show stronger performance.
- Set CPI budget caps at 50X the target. If you’re running a CPI (cost-per-install) campaign, bids should start around $4-$5. Aim for that even if your CPI goals are lower.
- Cluster your budgets. If you can’t increase your daily budget, try clustering your budgets together into a single campaign. You’ll want to make sure your tCPA campaign bids start around 20–30% higher than your ultimate goal.
- Cluster your markets. Markets, tiers, languages, and other factors should inform how you structure your campaigns and campaign strategy. That said, if you’re starting with a small budget, it’s helpful to combine ad campaigns if they are in one language and have low bids. You’ll have a higher bid-to-budget ratio, along with more events firing every day. You can also control delivery a little better.
- Use caution when changing target bids. If you have a smaller budget, keep bid changes small. Don’t change target CPA/CPI bids more than 20% in 24 hours until the campaign is generating 40-50 targeted in-app events per day.
- Geo expansions can wait. You need to prove success in Tier 1 markets before uncapping your budgets. As you increase your bid-to-budget ratio over time and get closer to 20X, you can begin to consider expanding your reach.
3. Be Generous with Creative Elements
Now that Google App Campaigns’ AI-enabled features have leveled the playing field and made so many ad tech products unnecessary, creative is the new battleground for developers. We’re proud to be a Google App ads creative partner dedicated to making world-class creative affordable and scalable for every budget.
To take full advantage of Google’s owned and operated (O&O) inventory on display (YouTube, Google Play, etc.), you must add images to your campaigns. But images alone won’t be enough. You’ll also need video assets and HTML5 creative. Your best bet is to create a balance between still ad images and videos, which will help balance out your ad spend.
Google’s algorithms can optimize the best placements for your ads across multiple channels, such as Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. You can feed your campaigns by maximizing your asset coverage.
Here’s how all those different ad creative formats can be distributed.
You can add up to 20 of each of the following assets:
The importance of video can’t be overstated. Adding just two videos to the asset mix usually results in a 25% increase in conversions. Don’t skimp on portrait videos, either: when advertisers use portrait rather than landscape videos, we typically see a 60% increase in conversion rates.
If you don’t have videos to add, Google App Campaigns can make a video ad for you using assets from your app store listing. To create your own videos using still images, follow this step-by-step process.
Here are some essential rules and tips for video use.
- Videos must be hosted on YouTube.
- Orientation can be landscape, portrait, or square.
- Make videos that can “flex,” or work regardless of how a user holds their device.
- Build creatives that show the app, not people. Many top-performing ads do not show people at all, or only show hands using a phone.
- Design videos that highlight the app experience rather than tell a story. Most top-performing ads show a direct experience of the app action itself or a quick demo of the app’s capabilities.
In our experience, we’ve found that certain image characteristics perform better than others (simpler backgrounds, primary colors, authentic/user-generated photos, etc.).
- Upload images as .jpg, .gif, or .png with a maximum size of 150KB.
- For native ads, landscape is the most valuable format.
- For interstitial ads, portrait is the most valuable format.
- Other valuable formats include 320×50 pixels, 320×480 pixels, and 300×250 pixels.
- Click here to learn how to upload image ads in different sizes.
Google recommends using Google Web Designer to create HTML5 assets for campaign use.
- Upload HTML5 as .zip (maximum size 1MB) containing no more than 40 files.
- To validate your HTML5 assets before uploading, run your .zip file through the HTML5 Validator tool.
- HTML5 sizes currently accepted include 480×320 (landscape interstitial, variable size); 320×480 (portrait interstitial, variable size); 300×250 (fixed size); and 320×50 (fixed size).
4. Run Multiple Formats Continually for Maximum Reach
According to Google, there are three ways to kick app campaign performance into high gear: landscape images, landscape video, and portrait video, all run continually for the greatest possible reach. Using this strategy, advertisers can simultaneously achieve creative excellence and maximize app campaign results.
Be sure to focus on the top image dimensions to ensure Google App Campaigns are serving across all networks.
- 320×480 (portrait interstitial)
- 480×320 (landscape interstitial)
- 300×250 (square)
- 1024×768 (tablet)
- 768×1024 (tablet)
- 1200×628 (landscape image)
- 728×90 (leaderboard)
- 320×50 (banner)
- 320×100 (banner)
5. Make User Retention a Priority
User acquisition may be the name of the game, but user retention is often an app’s biggest profit engine. Google App Campaigns’ latest updates make user retention campaigns easier than before. Use automated, cross-channel, tCPA product targeting to encourage users who’ve already downloaded your app to come back and engage again.
The Leading Success Factor: World-Class Creative at Scale
Google App Campaigns was good before: easy to use, expansive reach, and the power of AI to manage and optimize campaigns. Its AI’s ability to assemble and reassemble pieces of creative for different placements and platforms has made the user acquisition manager’s job easy.
With new features like value bidding, similar audiences, and AI-driven audience selection and ad placement, we expect advertisers will see even better results with Google App Campaigns—as long as they focus on developing top-quality creative.
To learn about what it takes to produce world-class creative at scale, and how surprisingly affordable it can be, check out our Creative Studio.