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Universal App Install Campaigns: Surprisingly Effective Android App Promotion

Published: January 26, 2017

Author: Kaelee Heuschkel

So I hate to admit this, but I like a black box product from Google. (I consider it a black box because we cannot dive into detailed performance metrics.)
Universal App Install Campaigns (UAICs), which run ads for Android apps across search, YouTube, and the Google Display Network, are truly set-it-and-forget-it campaigns, and they’ve worked really well for some clients! Let’s cover who would benefit from this type of campaign and then dive into campaign and ad setup.

Who should use UAICs

Anyone promoting Android app installs. (Really.) Of course, you’ll want to test a smallish budget before launching something full-bore, but this is no different than any other campaign.

How to Create the Campaign

  • Add a new campaign
    add campaign adwords
  • Select “Universal app campaign”
  • You find your app

Yup, it’s that simple for Android apps – but note that it will not work for iOS apps.

How to “Make” the Ads

This part might make control-obsessed marketers and clients uneasy. Ads are made from the ideas you provide, plus uploaded assets and content from your Google Play listings. It’s important to read the fine print. In summary, you do not have control over the ad formats or the networks where they’re shown. Google gets to decide.
You can:

  • Submit 4 independent lines of text as ideas. These need to be standalone with a 25-character max. Note that these are just ideas!
  • Add up to 5 videos and up to 10 images.

Straight from the AdWords UI, here are the image specs:
adwords image specs

Bidding Options

Your bid strategy must be a cost per install. I recommend setting at least a $1 CPI goal to start –  however, if your CPI goal is higher than that, set your true goal.
So, to sum up: easy setup, very little control. Why would I recommend this? This campaign type has proven to bring in incremental install volume at, from my experience, stable CPIs.

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