With game apps in mind, Google announces Universal App Campaign & AdMob monetization updates
Video ads in Google Play and more rewarded video ad formats for AdMob are among the updates.
Google announced several app promotion and monetization initiatives for game app developers on Thursday. The announcements, made ahead of next week’s Game Developer Conference, include updates for Universal App Campaigns, new rewarded ad experiences and a monetization test for apps on AdMob, Google’s in-app ad network.
The company announced it has now driven more than 10 billion app installs through ads, up from the 5 billion announced last May.
Universal App Campaigns (UAC) are Google’s machine learning-powered, automated app-install campaigns that run across Google Play, Google Search, YouTube, Gmail and the Google Display Network. UAC replaced Google’s manual app-install campaign type last year. “We’re doubling down on this product,” said Sissie Hsiao, VP of product for mobile app advertising at Google, in a press briefing on the announcements yesterday.
Here’s a rundown of the updates and tests announced for UAC and for AdMob.
Video ads on Google Play with UAC
Google will soon be adding video ad inventory to the Games tab in Google Play. A beta test of video ads on the Games discovery page of Google Play with UAC campaigns will run over the next few months. An example from Marvel, among the advertisers testing the new ad form, is shown below in a new “Game Trailers” ad carousel.
The inventory location in the Google Play app store is meant to reach people as they’re searching for new games.
Similar audiences for UAC
Starting in May, Google will begin testing an extension of similar audience targeting to UAC. With similar audiences, Google aims to identify and show ads to people who “look like” an app’s existing heavy users based on business data provided by the developer.
“Acquiring users for games is really competitive,” said Hsiao in a briefing yesterday. Profiles of gamers very widely across games, and she added that it’s harder to know who will play, stay engaged and make in-app purchases.
“Google helps by analyzing millions of signal combinations in real time to help you reach the players you care about — like the ones that are likely to beat level 1 or those that are likely to make an in-app purchase,” Hsiao wrote in the blog post announcing the updates. She says Google ads are driving 7 billion in-app events every quarter for app marketers.
Open Bidding beta on AdMob
For AdMob apps that partner with other ad networks for monetization, Google will be testing Open Bidding. The goal is to remove some of the pitfalls of ad mediation across networks.
Rather than using a mediation system that ranks networks based on historical CPMs, Open Bidding is based on simultaneous real-time bids in a unified auction. The idea is that the ad network that bids highest at the time will win the auction, not the network that has bid highest in the past, and apps will earn more revenue. Additionally, Open Bidding requires just one SDK (software development kit).
Smaato, Index Exchange and OpenX are already on board, and AdColony and Vungle are among the networks that will be joining in the next few months, says Google.
New video rewarded ad formats on AdMob
For developers monetizing their apps with AdMob, Google is adding playable and multiple-option video rewarded ads, which let users earn points or coins or advance further, for example, in exchange for watching an ad.
Since launching rewarded ads in March 2017, Google has seen 9x growth in rewarded ad impressions, and of the 1,000 top-earning apps on AdMob, 45 percent are using rewarded video ads. In October, Google added the option for advertisers to extend their six-second bumper ads on YouTube to AdMob.
Playable ads let users try out a game for a short period of time from within an interstitial. The multiple-option ads allow users to choose from a carousel of videos to watch. Both formats will be available in the next few months.
Rewarded ads can display in portrait or landscape modes and last anywhere from six to 60 seconds. Hsiao said rewarded video ads tend to drive higher CPMs and, not surprisingly, have 6x higher completion rates.