Nick Rennard
By Nick Rennard | SEM, Video | October 20, 2016

Universal App Campaigns

Universal App Campaigns

Hello Fellow Advertisers! Today I will be going over the basics of Universal App Campaigns in Google AdWords. I’ll discuss the pros and cons, and I’ll also show you a full set-up from start to finish. Enjoy!

Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of my video blog series. I am your host, Nick Rennard, and today we are going to be talking about universal app campaigns. I haven’t actually done a lot of videos on campaigns that are strictly geared for mobile devices, so this is one of the ones that I’ve had a bit of experience lately with some of my clients. I’ve actually had a lot of success with these so far. Yeah, and I wanted to share that with you guys and go over what they are, some tips and tricks, and some obstacles that I ran into along the way. I’m also going to show you the actual set up of it so you can do it yourself.

What are universal app campaigns? We abbreviate them in ad-words as UACs. A universal app campaign, it promotes … If you have a mobile app that you want people to download, what the UACs are built to do is they’re built to promote your mobile app, and get people to install you app. They use mobile app installs as the conversion, so they’re trying to get as many people to download your app as possible, for as cheap as possible. Yeah, that’s pretty much what they are. They are compatible with both IOS and Android. There are some complications per device there that we’ll go over on the next slide here, but if you set it up correctly, you can advertise on both of those platforms. It advertises across the Search network, the Play network, the YouTube network, and the Display network. It’s all over the place. You will need … If you set it up, and let’s say you don’t have a video to promote your app, then you won’t be able to advertise on YouTube in that case. Same thing with like the Display network, you’re going to need to have image ads.

I’ll go over the specs and what not, and where to find more information on that stuff, so that if you want to be advertising on YouTube with your app, some information on how to do that. We’ll go over that in a moment, but the point is here is that one of the reasons that these are great is that we can set up one campaign that is extremely diverse, and it advertises across multiple networks. Most of the types of campaigns that we’ve set up in the past are really only geared towards one network, but this is one of the exceptions that it can advertise across multiple networks, which is kind of cool.

Lastly here, UACs are extremely easy to set up, and one they’re set up, there’s very little optimization to do moving forward. One of the cool things about UACs, and one of the reasons that I recommend them, is that because the set up is so easy, and because optimization is so easy, even if you don’t think that it’s going to be good, because a lot of people … One of the problems with UACs is that it is part … A lot of people have criticized the display network for being too broad, and I will admit that these campaigns target an extremely broad audience. There is a possibility that these aren’t going to make money for you, but that’s true with any campaign. You never really know if … All campaigns have some chance of failing, and these are no exception to that.

What you can do is you can test them out with smaller amount of your budget, and let them run for a month or two. If they’re not doing good, or they’re … I’m sorry. If they’re not doing good, then you can shut them off. If you’re seeing improvement from week to week, if you see that the cost for install is going down, and getting better, yeah, then you can continue to run them. Again, doesn’t take very much work to run these, so you can just kind of get them up and let them run, and see what happens, and analyze the data after you see it. It uses an automated targeting and bidding to find the most profitable cost for installs, which is the main reason why it’s so easy to set up, is that everything is pretty much automated, whereas with a lot of the campaigns that I’ve gone over, like setting up a search campaign, and optimizing our bids, and stuff like that, takes a lot of work, maintenance, takes a lot of knowledge on how to implement that kind of stuff.

You have to be savvy with the UI and being able to make those changes, so in terms of difficulty, these are one of the easiest campaigns that I’ve … Actually it probably is the easiest type of campaign that I’ve ever set up. Yeah, that is definitely an advantage. All right, going over the conversions. I mentioned the IOS and Android. UACs again, they use CPA targeting. Typically, CPA targeting, what it is is it’s an automated bidding system that allows Google to do the bids for you. Typically, this is frowned upon. We don’t advocate using CPA targeting in most cases, but you don’t have a choice with the UACs, so there’s no option to use CPA targeting or not use manual targeting.

The reason that we typically frown upon CPA targeting is it allows Google to … Whenever they have control over stuff, it can get a little complicated. Sometimes their algorithm isn’t great, so if you have a lot of moving parts, their algorithm can sort of fail to generate any kind of revenue for you, or profit for you. There’s also a lot of … I’m sorry, a lot of variables that the algorithms can’t account for in certain campaigns. Obviously if we’re running that manually, then we’re able to adjust things based on certain variables that could come up. I’m not going to go in depth on those, but, yeah. I guess the point here is is that CPA targeting, these campaigns are going to use it, but I do not advocate that you use CPA targeting on campaigns where you can manually adjust your bids, because if you know how to do it right, then humans can do it better than Google can.

All right, with these conversions, since it’s using CPA targeting, you CPA should improve over time, because as Google accumulates data within these campaigns, they’re able to tell which lines of ad copy, and which networks, and which ads, and all that, they can determine which of those are performing better or worse than others. Let’s say you have four lines of ad copy that you uploaded into the campaign, but one of the lines of ad copy has a way higher click through rate, like it gets clicked on way more, Google is automatically going to favor that line of ad copy over the other ones. Same thing for like if they notice that your image ads are performing better than your video ads, then it will allocate more funds towards the image ads. It can only know that … The algorithm can only figure that out if it’s had time and money to run. Over time, you should see some … You’ll see some pretty major improvements right out the gate, because it’ll figure out what the really good and the really bad things to steer away from are.

Over time, it’ll sort of level out a little bit, and just minor improvements over time. The other thing to note here is that you never, never, never want to set up UACs without conversion tracking. They use CPA targeting, so if for whatever reason, the conversion tracking breaks, the algorithm can’t work anymore. This is also a complication because if your tracking breaks, and you don’t figure it out for … Like, let’s say you’re just kind of letting this stuff run, and you walk away from it, and you come back three months later and you notice that you haven’t gotten any conversions, because your conversion tracking broke for whatever reason, your campaign is kind of screwed.

What’s happened by that point is that the algorithm can’t figure our anymore, because now it’s thinking that everything is just terrible, and so it’s doesn’t even know where to spend money. At that point you’re going to have to create a new UAC campaign, and essentially sort of reset it. That is one of the big disadvantages of UACs, is that you need to be very careful and make sure that your conversion tracking is always, always working. Because if it doesn’t, you’re essentially going to have to start over from scratch.

All right, so in terms of tracking your conversions, Android is the easy one. Android devices, it’ll track the installs automatically, because Android is a Google product, so that conversion tracking is already set up for you. If you want to set up, the great thing about setting up on Android is that you can just do it, and run it, and it’ll work, and you don’t have to do anymore work. The other good thing about that is you don’t really have to fear that the conversion tracking is ever going to break, for whatever reason, code get dropped from a site or something like that, because it just automatically tracks for you within Google, so if it breaks, it’s their fault, and we can yell at them. It won’t break. It’ll work.

The IOS conversions, you’ll need to track those through a third party program, so using like Firebase, or I don’t know, like analytics or something. I’m not really sure what people use to track the IOS conversions. I haven’t gotten too deep into that. Yeah, you will need a third party program to track that. Yeah. That’s some of the complications, pros and cons, of the conversion tracking set up. Let’s go ahead and move on to an example of how to do this. Exit the slideshow, and I have our dummy account set up here.

What you’ll first want to do is log in to AdWords, and let’s say that this is your AdWords account. I’m going to go from start to finish on setting up the Universal App Campaign campaign, go through some of the different settings that you can choose from. Yeah, let’s go ahead and get started. First step is you’ll want to hit this big red plus new campaign button. You’ll see the other ones that we’ve talked about in the past, search network, display network, shopping campaigns, video campaigns, and then down here at the bottom, universal app campaign. Go ahead and select that, give your campaign a name. Let’s say we’re setting up like, “UAC for,” … Or, yeah, “New UAC Campaign.” Let’s call it that. Type universal app campaign, pretty straight forward.

You’ll have to select your mobile app. I’m going to use this one here as an example. I actually don’t even know what this app is, but I’m going to go ahead and select it. You can search for your app here by looking up whatever it is. It’ll search for all of the apps that show up, and you can just kind of browse for it, and click on the one that is yours. [inaudible 00:11:23] we get out of this? There we go. Select your app. In this case it’s Android, it’s for Android. Scroll down a little bit here where we’re going to be creating our ads. Now, I’m always going to advocate that you implement test ads. There’s a total of four here that we can test, so you can set up ads like, “Great app for friends and, ” … Oh, that doesn’t fit. Yeah, you can put in whatever ad copy you want here. “Ad copy example two. Ad copy example three.”

You can see how it’s sort of populating right here into the example ads, where it says like, “Great app for friends,” in the ad copy examples. You can see how your ad would actually show up here. I have to fill out four of these, otherwise it won’t let me submit this at the end of the screen. Yeah, you can kind of see what your app’s going to look like on the mobile devices before you submit this. It will, again, the automated algorithm is going to choose the ad copies that perform the best, so what you can do over time is you can come back in here, and you can change the ad copy. You could even create two different campaigns, and create different ad copies for both of them, and see if one ends up performing better than the other. Be a good A B split test to try out.

Yeah, just some ideas there. That’s for tech stads, which is for the search network. I guess those would show up no matter what. For YouTube, for advertising on the YouTube network, you would, again, you would have to have a video. What you can do is you can copy and paste a link to your video right here. You can also search for it. If you know the name of what your video is, you can just look it up and select it. Let’s say that’s the one that is our … This would be an odd looking ad, if this were a real ad. Go ahead and select the video that you want to use. For the images, you can add up to ten images. Ten is a lot, but you can use ten if you have ten. There’s a little hyperlink here that says, “See supported specs.” You are going to need to have specific image sizes and formats.

You can see here it has to be a GIF, a JPEG, or a PNG, max size a hundred and fifty kilobytes, aspect ratio, minimum dimension. Then it has some suggested dimensions. This is so that it fits in within particular banner slots on different devices. I highly recommend you use these four image sizes, and don’t go outside of those pixels. Otherwise, when it shows up on the mobile app device, it’s going to get cut off, and it won’t look as nice on the mobile app, which is going to lower your overall conversion rates. Yeah, if you have image ads, again we have text ads up here, video ads here, image ads here. Upload as much as you can. I mean, even if you only have text ads, that’s totally fine. Yeah, you’ll need ads.

Next tier is your location targeting. Let’s just go ahead and assume that we’re just advertising in the United States. Or, you know what? Let’s include Canada. We’re going to do it. We’re including Canada. If you have other places you wanted to look up, you would just look it up here, like United Kingdom, you could add that. Yep, pretty straight forward. For the advanced location options, I highly recommend you open this up. Google will default to having it target people in searching for, or who show interest in my targeted location. It says that’s recommended, which is funny because I highly don’t recommend you use that. The reason that it defaults to that, I think it’s kind of scammy on Google’s part, but it makes it so that if someone is in India, and your only advertising in the United States, but that person in India looks up something like, “Mobile app in the United States,” just because they had the word in United States in their search query, means that your ad can show up for it, which I think is …

I mean, if you don’t want mobile app users in India, like if that’s not a useful app install for you, then why would you want to be advertising in another country? Which is why I think this setting is stupid, because everyone’s going to have their specific locations that they want to get their customer base from, so why not just set those up? In order to fix this, I always recommend you use people in my targeted location, that way if you set it to United States and Canada, or you set it to United Kingdom, it is only going to show those ads in those places. You could also exclude locations. If you want to … I mean, you can just set up, again, the targeting is pretty straight forward. If you want to exclude certain places, you can do that here.

Languages, we’ll just set English for now, but if you have other languages for your app, you can obviously set that up here. For campaign optimization, I always leave it on, “Get new users for your app.” I actually haven’t tried the other one, so maybe the other one’s better? I don’t know, you’d have to click the learn more about that. I haven’t actually looked into that, so I don’t know everything. For your bid strategy, this is extremely important. You want to think about how much you’re willing to pay for someone to download your app. Now, Google is always going to try and beat your target, so if you say that, “I’m willing to pay ten dollars for an app installed,” they’re always going to try to beat that target. You know that if they can get conversions for six bucks, they totally will. Yeah, let’s go ahead and say that like an app install’s worth ten dollars to us.

You want to set that there so Google knows … Or the algorithm knows what it’s supposed to target. Your budget is how much you want to spend per day. If we’re … Let’s say you want to spend, I don’t know, I mean, yeah. Budget’s pretty straight forward. Usually budgets are done monthly, so if they say, “I want to spend three K a month,” then you would divide that by thirty, but let’s just put a random number in there. Twenty-five per day. That’s really it. That’s all the set up that we have to do for a UAC. In fact when I hit save and continue here, it’s just going to say, “You’re done. Yay.” It does tell you to make sure that … Or actually, it’s an Android app, so conversion tracking is already set up.

Again, if this were an IOS app, you would need to make sure that you have conversion tracking set up through a third party program before you launch this. We can go ahead and click, “Finish,” here. There’s our new UAC campaign. That’s really how simple this set up is. I don’t think I really have anything else to add to this. Again, very easy set up for these universal app campaigns. I highly recommend that you at least try it out. If you have an app, let it run for a month. If you like the performance, great, let it keep running. If you don’t, shut it off. Otherwise, thanks for watching, and I will see you guys in my next video blog.

background dots

In the time it takes to read this sentence, you could be on your way to a well-oiled demand generation machine. Ready for your blueprint?

yes, i want my Digital blueprint