Now the company is moving all app-install ads under the umbrella of UAC. Google said that as of October 16, all app-install campaigns will run as UAC ads. All current app-install campaigns will stop running on November 15; so developers and publishers need to convert their campaigns accordingly. (Google’s blog post has instructions on how to do this.)
The two types of mobile-app campaigns offered different features and capabilities, with some distribution overlap. AdWords app-install ads offered more direct control over placements (single channel, multichannel) and bidding (CPC, CPI and so on) but were also more complex to create and manage.
UAC ads are automatically distributed across multiple Google channels (search, GDN, YouTube, AdMob and Google Play) and use a CPA model. UAC radically simplifies ad creation and optimization with automation and machine learning. From Google’s discussion of how UAC works:
[Y]ou don’t design individual ads for universal app campaigns. Instead, we’ll use your ad text ideas and assets from your app’s store listing to design a variety of ads across several formats and networks. All you need to do is provide some text, a starting bid and budget, and let us know the languages and locations for your ads. Our systems will test different combinations and show ads that are performing the best more often, with no extra work needed from you.
Google said that 50 percent of all app downloads across its network are now being driven by UAC. One factor behind UAC’s performance is the ability to bid and optimize against a range of goals: CPI, CPA or ROAS and set up automated Smart Bidding based on those goals.
Google is also seeing a shift from pure install-driven campaigns (download) to those that focus on engagement or specific in-app actions (hotel booking, first ride and so on). The company said that marketers who “optimize for in-app actions with UAC, on average, drive 140 percent more conversions per dollar than other Google app promotion products.” This is at least in part because ad creatives and CTAs are likely more compelling than plain-vanilla download campaigns.
Google indicated that one in four mobile-app-related ad dollars is now focused on promoting in-app events/conversions. The company has 2 billion active Android users globally, and Google Play is live in 190 countries.
Beyond the migration itself, what’s also significant about the shift to UAC is what it represents about the future of Google’s ad business. It shows that the company plans to infuse more automation, goal-based bidding, machine learning and auto-optimization across its various channels to simplify ad creation and improve performance — for advertisers and itself.