Google Announces Major Ads Push To Court App Developers

New tools, integrations and formats unveiled in Google I/O keynote.

Chat with MarTechBot


In a sign of the heated competition for the billions developers now devote to app install and engagement ads, Google is making app advertising a key focus of the opening keynote at its annual I/O developer conference Thursday. Getting down to brass tacks about the ways in which the company is going to vie for loyalty with Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest among others, Google announced new end-to-end solutions — from app promotion to app monetization — for developers.

These solutions are powered by a number of integrations, a key theme in Google’s approach to gaining developer loyalty. The company is partnering with third-parties in a number of efforts and lowering the walls surrounding the Google garden.

Here is a look at the new features for AdMob, Analytics and AdWords announced Thursday.

Measurement Integrations In Analytics

Google Analytics for Apps now has integrations with over 20 ad networks such as inMobi (which it was rumored to be interested in acquiring) and Millennial Media. The data partnerships enable app marketers to see retention, lifte time value and other performance metrics across networks.

Soon, postback tracking will be enabled in Google’s SDK, as an alternative to pixel tracking, to more nimbly track and optimize conversion performance from referring networks.

Attribution Partnerships In AdWords

Stating its commitment to “open solutions for the industry”, Google announced advertisers will be able to pull in app install and event data from third-party partners into their AdWords accounts. Partners include Adjust, Appsflyer, Apsalar, Kochava and Tune (formerly HasOffers). Advertisers can choose to set bid strategies based on either AdWords performance data or data imported from one of these third-party mobile measurement platforms.

“By partnering with these leading ad platforms and tracking systems, we believe we can make the entire mobile apps
ecosystem stronger and more connected — all with the goal of making developers more successful,” Jonathan Alferness, Vice President, Product Management, wrote in the announcement.

Mediation Partnerships In AdMob

To help app developers fill their ad inventory efficiently,AdMob’s mediation tool for Android apps added 15 networks in the past year, bringing the total number of mediation partners to 40. Tencent GDT, a major player in China, is the latest mobile ad network to join.

In addition to programmatic tools, Google announced the beta launch of AdMob Reservations for direct sales teams to traffic campaigns on the AdMob platform.

Custom Audience Targeting

Expanding on the Audience Builder Tool announced at the Game Developers Conference in March, a new beta feature allows app marketers to define and target a list of users such as casual users. Developers can sign up to be considered for the custom audience targeting beta now.

app audience targeting in admob

Native Ads Integration With Android Studio

Google launched a small beta test of AdMob native ad units in March, allowing developers to show ads customized to their app from Google advertisers.

native ads in admob app install ads

Today, Google announced the integration of AdMob into Android Studio. Developers can create native ad units during the app development process, eliminating the need to build custom ad units. Developers can define and later easily adjust ad styles with CSS; AdMob serves ads from Google advertisers based on those specifications.

native ads in apps on admob

Universal App Campaigns In AdWords

To be precise, the newest campaign type, designed specifically for app promotion ads, is accessible in both AdWords and the Google Play Developer Console. Universal app campaigns will allow app marketers to set up one campaign that can scale across search, YouTube, AdMob, mobile sites in the Display Network and Google Play.

The new simplified format will roll out in the coming months.

Check out our live blog coverage of the opening keynote for more announcements

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

Get the must-read newsletter for marketers.