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Google Adwords Universal Campaigns Expand to Gmail and Post-Install Optimization

Gabe Kwakyi | July 28, 2016

  Feature image credit: AdWeek

Android universal campaigns have driven over 2 billion Android app installs to date across Google.com, the Play Store and Youtube. That number will keep growing, thanks to Google’s upcoming move to expand universal campaigns into Gmail, which has 900 million active users, 75% of whom are on mobile devices.

Also in the Google pipeline is a move to allow advertisers to optimize universal campaigns for post-install metrics such as purchases or signups. This is a crucial product expansion given the low user activation and retention rates throughout the app industry, and can specifically help app marketers combat such “hollow CPI” issues and high active user acquisition costs. Google’s product expansion also comes in close proximity to a similar post-install app optimization move by Facebook and threatens to take more market share from programmatic vendors, who have already allowed advertisers to optimize app install campaigns for post-install KPIs.

The downside to universal campaigns is that advertisers lose creative and targeting control in favor of cheap installs by way of the black box, “almighty algorithm” style of optimization; unlike normal Adwords app install campaigns, advertisers can only provide 4 ad text ideas, a video, a CPA target, campaign budget and set the language and location targeting.

The Bottom Line: Google’s universal campaigns, already one of the cheapest, non-incentivized app install channels available will soon tap into additional volume and post-install optimization, ratcheting up competition with Facebook and the programmatic market.

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