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New “Universal Ad Campaigns” May Be Most Powerful App Marketing Tool in Existence

If your company develops apps, you know how hard it is to stand out and get downloads. There are more apps than ever these days, which not only means fierce competition but also more users are wearing ad blinders. Getting through to your target market can be hard.

Google decided to tackle this problem head on. At the I/O conference, they’ve announced a new ad tool for app developers. While this tool may seem like a footnote to some, it’s worth paying attention to. In fact, it’s probably the most powerful app marketing tool on the planet.

Introducing Universal Campaigns

The new tool is known as Universal App Campaigns. To understand how incredible these campaigns are, let’s work backwards through Google’s thought process. They saw that app marketers were floundering in a crowded market, and they appear to have asked themselves two questions:

  1. How can we put an ad literally everywhere a developer might find their audience?
  2. How can we make this system easy for developers to use?

The resulting Universal App Campaigns are like AdWords on steroids. When a developer creates a campaign, their ad is pushed out to all off these platforms:

  • Regular Google searches
  • AdMob, Google’s exiting app marketing network
  • Youtube (only when viewed on Android or iOS devices)
  • The Mobile Display Network (on Adroid and iOS devices)
  • The Google Play store (on Android)

In other words, if any human being on earth looks like they might even remotely be interested in downloading an app, they see your ad.

Universal App Campaigns also pass the “ease of use” test. The system is modeled on AdWords, arguably one of the most beginner-friendly marketing tools of the digital age. You simply add up to four different one-line text ads (which will be used interchangeably) and a video ad for Youtube. These ads will appear in appropriate searches continuously until your ad spend maximum is reached.

Low Risk Solution

The one hurdle that holds most companies back from trying new advertising channels is risk. A Universal Campaign may reach a large number of platforms, but that doesn’t guarantee it will convert to downloads/sales. Google anticipated this hesitation and made one crucial change from AdWords: you only pay if your ad closes a sale.

That’s right. In AdWords, you pay per click. If a visitor clicks on your website but buys nothing, it still comes out of your ad spend. Not so with App Campaigns. Instead, you only pay when a user actually downloads your app. If they just eyeball it, the click is free.

This is an insanely high-leverage marketing system. Any developer who can scrape together four potential ad slogans can get into the game, and literally pays nothing until the ads work. Universal App Campaigns actually make me jealous; I wish regular AdWords worked this way too. But Google is offering these terms in response to the specific obstacles faced in the app market. They want more developers to promote more apps, and if that happens to be your line of business, I suggest giving it a try—fast.