A Guide to Google UAC Best Practices
- by Brian Bowman | March 12, 2019
- General Marketing
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Initially, to streamline the process for advertisers, Google created Universal App Campaigns (UAC); allowing these advertisers to promote their apps across different platforms while using one system. When creating ads in UAC, it is inherent that the advertiser uploads their creative assets—because Google’s system utilizes the creative assets from the Google Play Store to design ads that are formatted for different specifications.
It’s important to provide a variety of text, image, and video assets—all of which align with the goals of the campaign. Google UAC can develop relevant ads for every moment, in every possible format, and for almost every channel. Their systems try out different combinations and show which ads will perform the best over time. This allows advertisers to extend their reach across many different channels such as the Play Store, through other apps, in Google search, or on YouTube.
Wondering how to make the most out of UAC’s capabilities and features to optimize campaigns? Here are some tips and tricks:
1. Increase Bid to Budget Ratios
Target CPA (tCPA) is a smart bidding strategy. It sets bids that allow you to maintain your set cost-per-acquisition while getting as many conversions as possible. Because of the advanced machine learning behind this, your bids can be automatically optimized, and auction-time bidding is also offered, which allows you to tailor your bids.
Setting Up Bid to Budget Ratios
In terms of tCPA bidding campaigns, 10X is the minimum that you will want to set so that you can ramp up your campaigns quickly. This being said, for these bid-to-budget ratios, using 20X will often show stronger performance.
When it’s not possible to increase daily budget, you can cluster your budgets together into one single campaign. To get the best out of this campaign, you’ll want to make sure your tCPA campaign bids start around 20-30% higher than your ultimate goal.
On the other hand, when running a CPI (cost-per-install) campaigns, budget caps should be 50X the target to your CPI, which bids starting around $4-$5. This should be the case even when CPI goals are lower.
General Best Practices for Bid-to-Budget Ratios
- Make sure your daily budget caps at least 50X target CPI or 10X target CPA.
- Don’t change target CPI/CPA bids > 20% in 24 hours until the campaign is generating 20-30 targeted in-app events per day.
- Target CPI campaigns’ bid starts at least $4-5, even if CPI goal is lower.
- Target CPA campaigns’ bid starts at least 20-30% higher than the goal.
Additional Consideration: Geo Expansions
If you’re running your campaigns in a limited set of geos and are looking to expand (but are constrained by budget), focus your efforts on a limited set of geos instead. Although it may seem like you’re missing an opportunity by not expanding, you need to prove success in Tier 1 markets before uncapping your budgets. When you increase your bid to budget ratio over time—and get closer to 20X, this is where you can begin to consider expanding to different geos.
2. Market Clustering and Bidding Strategy
Market Clustering for Small Budgets: Markets, tiers, languages, and other factors should all be aspects of your campaign structuring strategy. This being said, it will be helpful to combine ad campaigns if they are in one language and have low bids. This will give you a higher bid-to-budget ratio, as well as more events firing every day. This also allows you to control the delivery a little better—it is best to consolidate until there are larger budgets where you can separate campaigns by market.
Make Small Bid Changes: Another important thing to note is that when you have a smaller budget, you will want to also make small CPA/CPI bid changes. It is recommended to change by less than 20% per day until you are consistently getting about 40-50 targeted in-app events every day.
Set Bids Early in the Day: It is best to set bids during the beginning of the day—it allows you to be competitive. With that being said, you can then begin tapering the bid down once you begin generating enough event volume each day.
3. Creative Best Practices: Adding Images to Every Campaign
Having great ad creative is imperative. In order 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. Also, video assets tend to perform well, though they are more expensive. The best thing to do is to create a balance between still ad images and videos, as it will help to balance out your ad spend.
Google’s algorithms can optimize the best placements for your ads across multiple channels, such as search, display, YouTube and Google Play. You can feed your campaigns by maximizing your asset coverage. For instance, provide all sizes for videos:
- Square Video
Similarly, provide all size options for still images:
- HTML5 assets
Once your ad creative assets have been running for around 10-14 days, it is easy to identify the highest performing assets. You can then have your team start building new iterations of high performing assets and ultimately delete the low performing ones.
4. Maximize App Campaign Performance
According to Google, there are three ways to really improve app campaign performance. When advertisers follow these golden rules, it’s possible to achieve creative excellence and maximize app campaign results. The three rules are to continually run multiple formats of each creative for the greatest reach: Landscape image, Landscape Video, and Portrait Video.
Pro Tip: Focus on the top image dimensions to ensure UAC is serving across all networks. Dimensions are as follows:
|320×480 (Portrait Interstitial)||320×50 (Banner)|
|480×320 (Landscape Interstitial)||1200×628 (Landscape Image)|
|300×250 (Square)||728×90 (Leaderboard)|
|1024×768 (Tablet)||300×50 (Banner)|
|768×1024 (Tablet)||320×100 (Banner)|
Google has made significant algorithm improvements that help advertisers identify and target audiences with UAC. Because of this, your focus should shift to bidding strategy, market strategy, and creative testing.
Constantly testing creative is crucial to achieve and sustain return on advertising spend (ROAS). The fact of the matter is, creative rapidly fatigues with increased spend and audience reach. In addition, 95% of creatives fail to outperform a media buying portfolio’s best ads. So, even when you have a high-performing creative, you need to think about replacing it. This year, advertisers need to rapidly develop new creatives and leverage best practices to drive positive outcomes with Google UAC campaigns.
Learn more about Facebook and Google UAC advertising best practices.