Google is updating its Universal App Campaigns to include Apple apps for the first time and to better target the most valuable consumers, the company said at its annual Google I/O conference recently. Universal App Campaigns, which developers can use to promote their apps across Google properties and elsewhere, encompassed only Android apps when the company introduced it at Google I/O last year. In the last year, Google said it’s more than doubled the volume of app installs driven by ads, and has delivered more than 2 billion downloads to developers.
“Now, all app developers can tap into the simplicity and power of Universal App Campaigns to reach billions of Android and iOS users on YouTube, the Google Search App and the Google Display Network,” the company said in a blog post. Universal App Campaigns for iOS developers starts in beta today and will be more widely available in the near future, though Google didn’t have an exact date.
The company has also enhanced developers’ ability to target consumers through Universal App Campaigns. Developers have typically designed campaigns to expose their apps to as many people as possible. But there’s often a need to be more targeted than that, said Sissie Hsiao, product management director for mobile app ads at Google. Chasing volume is useful when an app is new or entering a new market, she added, but developers are increasingly looking for more valuable or engaged users, or users that tend to use apps for certain purposes. Developers will soon be able to use Universal App Campaigns to put ads in front of users based on specific signals and actions identified by the developer, Ms. Hsiao said. For instance, developers can target people who have made it past certain levels on games, for example, or those who have booked a hotel or made travel plans through other apps.
Those signals and actions are basically more enhanced data. “Our models evaluate countless signals and unique insights into intent, and constantly learn and adjust, meaning every single optimization is based on the freshest, most relevant data,” the company’s blog post said. “The best thing for app developers is that we do all the hard work in the background, predicting which users will be valuable and acquiring them at the right price. Universal App Campaigns now offer advertisers more high quality app users, with less effort. These innovations are in testing and will roll out in the coming months.”
Outside of mobile gaming, the move could be significant for marketers that are trying to drive app users to perform specific actions, whether that’s buy items through their apps, book travel or interact in any meaningful way. Google also said Wednesday that it’s giving developers the opportunity to reach more YouTube and Gmail users through Universal App Campaigns. Universal App Campaigns helps Google compete against Facebook, which has been able to build a multibillion dollar mobile ad business, thanks in part to developers’ app-installation ads with the company. Twitter also serves a significant amount of app install ads.