Driving app downloads with Google's new ad formats

Driving app downloads with Google's new ad formats

Google’s new ad formats, unveiled in August, present a huge opportunity for any iGaming advertiser with an app to promote, writes Ben Wightman of Latitude Digital Marketing.

Published 20th November 2014

On 20 August 2014, Google announced the global release of new features to help advertisers to promote mobile apps on search and YouTube. This represents a significant step forward for AdWords in today’s mobile age, and follows the announcement made in April earlier this year.
Over the past four years, we have seen mobile click share for iGaming advertisers grow rapidly – looking at aggregated campaign data (see Figure 1) we find that the combined traffic from mobile and tablet devices now represents two thirds of all iGaming Adwords clicks.
The new ad formats offer a potentially golden opportunity for iGaming advertisers to promote their apps to the huge audiences now searching Google and YouTube from mobile and tablet devices.

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Figure 1

It is also worth mentioning that download volumes are a key ranking factor for apps in iTunes and Google Play. App install ads have the potential to increase your organic ranking in the app stores, leading to even more downloads – this would be a pleasing halo effect for any advertiser.
The new ad formats are quick to set up and offer features to ensure effective performance on both Google Search and YouTube:

1. Promote your app in Google Search.

  • Previously we have had only the ‘Mobile App Install’ extension for search ads, which appears as a blue link to the app store beneath your mobile ads. Now we have specific ‘App-Install’ ads for Search.
  • Ads will only be shown to mobile/tablet users who have not previously installed your app
  • Ads will take searchers to the relevant app store to download your app (see Figure 2)
  • The Adwords Keyword Tool will suggest keywords for your campaign based on search queries in the Google Play store (see Figure 2).

The set-up process for the new Search Ad format is quick and simple – there are only three steps to get going. Campaigns also benefit from standard AdWords features such as bid strategies, geo-targeting and ad scheduling (see Figure 3). 

While App Install Ads will help to drive downloads, Google states that 80% of users download an app and use it only once. To help advertisers to reconnect with app audiences, Google have also announced beta trials of “app re-engagement” ads.
Although in limited testing at the moment, this ad format is expected to become available to all advertisers in the near future.
Re-engagement ads will appear exclusively for mobile/tablet users who already have your app installed and will deep link into the relevant app page on the user’s device.

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Figure 2
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Figure 3
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Figure 4


2. Promote your app in YouTube.
According to a 2013 YouTube Global Audience study by IPSOS, YouTube users are more than twice as likely to download apps.
Now you can promote downloads of your app with YouTube TrueView ads.

  • TrueView Ad format shows app name, icon, price and ratings
  • Target ads to audiences based on their interests, demographics and previously watched videos
  • Simply link your App’s ID to your TrueView campaigns. Users will be taken to the relevant app store to download (see Figure 4).

Along with the new ad formats, Google also described their improved tracking and measurement options for app promoters:

  • App installs from the Google Play store will show up automatically as conversions within your Adwords account (you can opt out of this if you prefer – if tracking other conversion types such as sales or bookings you may not wish to see them rolled into one in your Adwords conversion reports).
  • Tracking app installs from iTunescurrently requires third party tracking, however it is possible to install AdWords tracking code within your app to measure in-app actions such as purchases or bookings across all mobile platforms.
  • With AdWords tracking code installed inside your app, it also becomes possible to measure visitor outcomes and returnon- investment (ROI) for your app promotion campaigns. You can then take advantage of ROI-based bidding rules to optimise your Adwords campaign profitability.

There are over 1 billion unique users and 6 billion hours of videos viewed on YouTube each month. This new ad format from Google presents an enormous opportunity for any advertiser with an app to promote.