Google updates Universal App Campaign targeting, touts 3 billion app installs from ads
The new version is aimed at delivering higher-value customers to app marketers with machine learning.
A sort of V2 of Google’s Universal App Campaigns — one campaign that can reach users across the Google ecosystem on search, Play store, Gmail, YouTube and apps in the Display Network — was announced at the DMEXCO conference in Germany on Wednesday.
The update involves the way ads are targeted to “help you find the customers that matter most to you, based on your defined business goals,” said Srihar Ramaswamy, Google’s SVP of commerce and ads.
Advertisers define the in-app activity they want to optimize for — reaching a game level, booking a trip, spending a certain amount of time — in AdWords and set a cost-per-install target. Google then uses a machine learning algorithm to try to reach new users most likely to download apps and take the desired actions.
Advertisers must link their AdWords account to analytics — either a third-party measurement partner or Google Analytics or Firebase Analytics — to measure those activities and pass the data back to AdWords.
“Universal App Campaigns evaluate countless signals in real time to continuously refine your ads so you can reach your most valuable users at the right price across Google’s largest properties,” said Ramaswamy in a blog post. “As people start to engage with your ads, we learn where you’re finding the highest value users.”
Trivago has been testing the new targeting to reach new users most likely to click on a hotel deal in the app. The company acquired customers 20 percent more valuable across both Android and iOS, according to Google.
With the update, the primary goal is still to acquire new app installs within a CPI target. The difference is that the aim is more refined to get installs from new customers who are likely to engage with an app in meaningful ways rather than download and forget it.
This event-based version of Universal App Campaigns is now live for all users.
With the news, Google also said it has driven over three billion app installs from ads. That’s up from the two million installs announced in at I/O in May. Facebook had also announced its ads had driven two billion app installs around that time. Facebook was far ahead of Google in making a market for app install ads, so while the numbers battle can seem a bit petty, it does point to how quickly Google has been able to grow its app install ads business thanks to Universal App Campaigns.