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Universal App Campaign- Ways to Get The Best ROI 2020

Contributors: Amol Ghemud
Published: August 14, 2018

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How to Get the best ROI out of your Universal App Campaigns:

Google’s Universal App campaign makes the process easy for you. The objective of any app advertiser is to get the app into the hands of most valuable users. By most valuable, I’m referring to those users who will end up adding monetary value to my app.

With UAC it is easy to promote your apps across Google’s different networks consisting Search, Google Play, Google Display and YouTube Network. All you need to do is add some text ideas, some images to your campaign.

A. What is UAC?

Universal App Campaign is Google’s effort to utilize machine learning with its advertising platform. The idea of machine learning is to analyze the app in real time and put it before the hundreds of millions of users across Google’s various networks.

According to Google, UAC generates 140% more conversions than simple app promotion. It gives advertisers an opportunity test out app for both Android and IOS platform.

B. How UAC Differs from old App Install Campaign?

While the old app install campaign used to focus only on app installation in bulk, irrespective of whether user needs it or not, UAC utilizes Google’s machine learning system to bring the app to the would be potential users.

On the technical part, let’s see how UAC differs from old App install campaign.

       1. Ad Assets

In App Install Campaign, Ad copy varies based on the type of Google network. Check below.
While in UAC, you do not have much freedom for customization. The only editable asset is text ideas.
Mobile app install campaigns offer you the report to view performance for each individual ad, while the UAC campaign doesn’t show any performance data for ad copy.

        2. Bidding

Mobile App install campaigns could provide 3 different bidding strategies; CPC, CPV (for YouTube only) and Target CPI.

Such bidding diversification is not available in UAC. Only Target CPI is the bidding option available in UAC. Moreover you can adjust the amount you wish to pay for a single install.

        3. Reporting

For Mobile App Install Campaign, following segments/level are available to view.

  1. Campaign/Ad Group
  2. Time (day, month, quarter etc)
  3. Location
  4. Device
  5. Ad Schedule
  6. Network
  7. Top Movers
  8. Labels
  9. Targeting (Placement, Interest/Remarketing, Demographic)

For Universal App Campaign, only following performance levels are available to view.

C. Why Universal App Campaign works better than you think?

Unlike other AdWords campaigns, there is no option available to design individual ads for Google Universal App campaigns. Instead, Google utilizes your text ideas and different Ad Assets from Play Store to produce the best possible ad.

All you need to do is write text for the ad, apply bid, set budget and specify location. Google’s system will test the different combination and optimize for better performing ads, thus your extra work is saved.

AdWords also automates Bidding and targeting for you to get the best value of your download. In-app conversions allow you to find most valuable user for your app.

D. Campaign Designing & Creation

Designing a Universal App Campaign is just a piece of cake. Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Sign In to your adwords account. Click on campaign creation button. Select Universal App Campaign.
  2. Link your app from the app store. (Install Play Store or Install App Store)
  3. Choose location & language. Apply target CPI bid and set budget.
  4. The important section here is Campaign Optimization. You need to choose either a store app install or the user who are likely to perform an action.
  5. Now comes the important stage of Ad creation. As we discussed above, get ready with the text ideas and images to be uploaded. Google has some recommendation for Ads dimension.

Following creative levers are available.

Formats GIF, JPG, PNG – Max. size 150 KB

Landscape images

Aspect ratio 1.91:1

Min dimensions 600 x 314

Suggested supported dimensions

320 × 50 Mobile banner

300 × 250 Inline rectangle

320 × 480 Smartphone interstitial


1200 × 628 Landscape image (for native ads)

E. Where your Ads can appear?

When you run Universal App Campaign, your ads are eligible to run across Google’s wide network. Let’s’ take a look how these ads appear across various network.

  1. The Google Play Store
  2. Google Search Network
  3. The Google Display Network
  4. YouTube

F. Optimization of UA-Campaign

For optimizing UAC, it is important to understand how UACs are different from other AdWords campaigns. Unlike other AdWords campaign, there is a less opportunity for optimization in UAC. Also from this campaign, very less insights into reporting & ad control is obtained.
Nevertheless there is certain room for optimization.

Here they are:

  1. Campaign Bid

    Adjusting your bid is one of the most important levers of optimization. Try increasing the bid and observe the pre and post bid change performance of the campaign. Google also allows you to bid on users ‘who are likely to complete in-app actions that you select’.

    While the only bidding option available is TCPA, that does not mean google will charge you only the set amount.Setting the TCPA tells google algorithm that you are willing to pay that much amount for conversion. You may end up being charged higher than your target CPA.

  2. Ad Text

    Your ads are automatically generated using your text ideas, uploaded assets, and content from your Google Play and Apple App Store listings.But still, following areas are available where creatives can be tested.a) a set of 4 text ad spot; 25 characters eachb) a set of upto 20 display images (optional)

    c) an optional set up of 20 Youtube videos

    As performance reporting of these creatives is not available, run A/B test on your creatives with manual pre-post performance analysis. To do so, make one change and observe the changes. Compare the performance with previous data (of same range) & accordingly check if positive effects are obtained.

  3. Performance Grouping

    Performance grouping is the rank-stack given by google in Ad Assets. Google’s algorithm ranks
    the performance of each Ad Asset labeled as Best, Good & Low.
    Remember that while performance history will be available for each ad text, but their performance grouping data will no longer be available if you change an ad text.

  4. Location

    Increase efficiency of your campaign by testing your campaigns for different geographies. Keep in mind that targeting too much tightly can kill off your volume thus preventing your campaign kicking off.

  5. Test For Both Android & IOS

    Yes you read it correct. Google allows IOS Configuration with AdWords to run UAC on IOS devices. That is a different topic. You can read more here.
    Test which users give you better ROI.

  6. Videos

    It is better to provide customised video for your UAC. If you leave this field blank, AdWords may make a video for you.

  7. Optimize for Funnel

    Gone are the days when people used to run app campaign for installs. It is better to go after any event or in-app action. Aligning the goal of the campaign with good performance can be a bit of a challenge while optimizing for such low funnel volume.
    Remember, never make more than one change at a time. Otherwise you won’t be able to track the changes that work for you.


Nowadays the audience is more inclined towards mobile and app usage. Thus, this makes it a necessity for advertiser to get more users with Universal App Campaign. Following the above simple optimization tricks will do wonders to your campaign.

As we saw the difference between current UAC and old Mobile Install Campaign, it is hard to choose one over other.

Both have their merits & demerits. At the end, important thing is to make your app reach the hands of most valuable users.

About the Author

amol ghemud
Optimizer in Chief

Amol has helped catalyse business growth with his strategic & data-driven methodologies. With a decade of experience in the field of marketing, he has donned multiple hats, from channel optimization, data analytics and creative brand positioning to growth engineering and sales.

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One response to “Universal App Campaign- Ways to Get The Best ROI 2020”

  1. With thanks! Valuable information!

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