5 Top Tips for Universal App Campaigns

Read Time: 3 Minutes

When one is looking to acquire new mobile users the first place they should be looking is Google’s UAC (Universal App Campaigns) as a great means by which to drive downloads and in-app actions for your brand. UAC – leverage Google’s landscape and place your ads across numerous networks, including the Play Store, Display and YouTube all within one campaign.

Unlike what you may be used to with traditional Google Ads campaigns, let UAC do the heavy lifting for you by leveraging machine learning to reach conversion goals, whilst testing copy and creative combinations to find the best performing solution.

So what should advertisers consider before diving into UAC? Brands should be considering the following five points to optimise UAC and drive performance:

  1. Tracking
  2. Event Selection
  3. Budgets
  4. Creatives
  5. Audience Strategy

Tracking your performance 

As with any paid activity, it is vital to track your campaigns, especially if you’re running UAC alongside different platforms, so you can accurately assign credit to the relevant sources. You can choose from Firebase, Google play (Android installs) or use a third-party app analytics provider, but it’s fundamental that you have a source of truth to track and measure your campaigns so you can make the right decisions based on the right information. 

Choose your event selection wisely

Based on machine learning, App campaigns need a minimum of 50 conversion in order to optimise, so make sure you balance your KPI’s and choose an event that will provide enough data for the campaign to work effectively. We  recommend starting with installs and then expanding into in-app actions (such as purchases). If you are revenue based, ROAS campaign goals can then follow on from this. 


If  you haven’t run App campaigns before and are unsure of where to start with budgets, Google recommends a budget of at least 50x your tCPI or 30x your tCPA goal. When managing budgets and bidding, note that Universal App Campaigns run using machine learning and extreme changes can affect campaign performance. Campaigns have a 7 day learning phase as they gather enough data to optimise, making smaller more consistent changes allows you that control without restarting or resetting the learning phase. 

Creative is Key 

With there being less levers on App campaigns to work from, the main capability we have is creative refinement. It is crucial  to have a wide set of ad assets (ranging from text to video) in order to allow your campaign to succeed. Google recommends 4 text ideas, 3 videos and 2 of your top 10 images. Google has said that adding video to your ad groups assets can drive an extra 13% uplift in conversions. If you don’t have video assets available, there are plenty of tools we can use to transform your static imagery into compelling video. Take time to think about your creative strategy when starting up with UAC. Good practice includes ensuring your key headlines, Call to Action and brand are communicated first. Google Play allows you to localise videos so consider using this and localising language and device based content if it differs between markets. Also take into consideration videos are often not watched with the sound on so make sure it’s just as effective when it’s silent. 

Enhance your strategy with Audience work 

Think you’ve got the above sorted? There’s plenty more you can do in terms of audiences, and Google has a set of Beta’s which can get you on the right track to effective re-engagement. 


Want to learn more about Apps? Have a read of the first blog in our App Series with Google’s Pietro Bagnasco who discusses everything from strategy and budget investments, to re-engagement and Q4 Predictions.

This blog was originally published on Incubeta.

Are you Overlooking the Value of Apps?

Read Time: 5 Minutes 30 Seconds

As we draw closer to Christmas, and the inevitable influx of consumer spending that accompanies it, we caught up with Google’s Head of Mobile Apps Partnerships, Pietro Bagnasco to find out why Apps should be at the forefront of one’s marketing strategy.

Why should brands consider app campaigns for Q4?

People will probably be tired of reading and hearing this, but we are definitely living in exceptional times. If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that people’s desire to stay healthy, connected, productive and informed has only increased. And that smartphones and Apps are now, more than ever before, the closest and most-used access point for users to all of that. 

In fact, worldwide, the average weekly time spent in Apps grew 20% year over year in Q1 2020, suggesting that Apps are making a difference in how people navigate through this unprecedented time.

Our Director, Lowell Doppelt, recently spoke about this, during the peak of what’s now been referred to as “the first wave” and discussed how Apps can deliver helpfulness. 

What’s your philosophy on how brands should approach their Apps?

In my experience, brands should always start by asking themselves why they built the app in the first place, and how they can use it to deliver value to their customers. 

For the many brands who might have an App but aren’t necessarily leveraging it, investing in it or using it as a customer touch point, should circle back, and revaluate their strategy. Apps are proving to be invaluable, and compared to all other channels, have a higher retention rate, a higher average order value (whether retail or food delivery) and better brand loyalty over the long term.

As mentioned earlier, now more than ever, consumers are turning to Apps to satisfy their needs. Think of the increased adoption of food and grocery delivery Apps as an example, which played a key role during the lockdown globally. Additionally the boom in video conferencing and fitness Apps in 2020, which helped everyone stay fit, healthy and connected with their families. 

The time users are spending in front of a smartphone is surpassing 2019’s figures. Customers’ attention is on Apps, and those advertisers who are not there now, risk losing their market position in the coming 2-3 years. 

How do you recommend brands get started?

When we talk about investing budgets into user acquisition for your App, there are three things to consider: 

  1. Having a clear goal and strategy for your app
  2. Having the right measurement in place
  3. Having a solid creatives strategy and capacity

1: Always start with defying the goal and the strategy for your App user acquisition. 

Why? Because this will allow you to then translate this into actions and specific implementations on our Google Ads platform, leveraging the right product at the right time. Are you looking for new users? Google App Campaigns for Installs will help you find new users at the cheapest possible cost per install (CPI). Are you looking for users to complete specific actions, for example a purchase or a signup? Google App Campaigns for Actions will let you set a specific Cost Per Action (CPA) that your brand is willing to pay for a new user to download your App and complete said action –  leveraging over 300 million signals thanks to our machine learning. Are you looking to re-engage with existing users, who might have lapsed or stopped using your App? Google App Campaigns for Re-engagement will allow you to define the audience you want to reach out to (for example people who have the App installed on their phones but have not opened it over the last 30 days, or people who have added an item to cart but not purchased) and bring them back to the App.

2: Measurement is instrumental to this all. 

Having the right measurement means being able to provide our machine with the right signals that will lead to a performing optimization. But right measurement also means, on your side, the ability to look into the data and accurately measure the performance of your investment.  Google Analytics for Firebase is our analytics solution that will open you the doors to a detailed measurement, as well as a performing optimization of Google App Campaigns. For those of you more familiar with the Web side of things, this is our Google Analytics product, built specifically for Apps.

3: Finally, good creatives are imperative to the success of a campaign. 

Capture the user’s attention, convey your unique selling proposition, entertain, intrigue….leverage AdGroups to group your message and cater it to different audiences (for example if you are a Food Delivery business you could group your creatives by food type) to increase your chances of success. It’s important that you have the right bandwidth to produce creatives, test them and iterate on what works. My recommendation would be to assess whether your design team has the capacity to sustain a continuous effort, and if not, identify a strong partner in the market.

Do you have any predictions for what we will see in Q4?

I believe Q4 will provide an even further acceleration to the above mentioned trends.

Given the world’s current situation, Apps provide a unique way for users to keep socializing and entertaining, whilst also shopping and consuming content and services in a safe, protected and convenient way during the holiday season. A staggering stat, reported by TechCrunch indicates that “consumers will spend more than 1 billion hours on Android devices alone during the fourth quarter, a 50% increase from the same time last year”. As user trends accelerate towards Apps, they become even more ingrained into user habits, substantially redefining the user journey across a continuously increasing number of businesses beyond the usual suspects. 

What advice would you give to brands starting app campaigns now?

Get started, measure & iterate. Because our product leverages the power of machine learning to help bring you the best results, keep in mind it’s a learning journey. Therefore, get started: test, measure the right KPIs and scale what works. There is no magic behind what our algorithms do, it’s all based on data and iterations. 

Define your strategy and plan, launch it, give it time to optimize, then measure results and start iterating on creatives, bidding strategies and bidding amounts. Most importantly, if you are just getting started and do not have the full skillset in house or the bandwidth to follow and successfully deliver on your App strategy, I would encourage you to look out for the right partner that can help you capitalize on this opportunity.  


This blog was originally published on Incubeta.