‘Apportunities’ for success: An introduction to PPC app marketing

Back in July 2008, Apple rolled out iOS 2.0 and for the first time in history we, the information-hungry device users, were introduced to “App Store” – a place for us to download apps for everything. 

From communication to procrastination, a shining beacon of hope for idle thumbs, a true bastion of knowledge in a time when browsing the internet via our handhelds was akin to trekking to the south pole. Here we stood, at the event horizon of the modern age, unaware of the future that lay before us, but like Scott, we stepped forward into the unknown and we liked it.

Two months later, Google broke the mobile market with the HTC Dream, launched alongside “Android Market” and the rest was history. Fast forward almost a decade (feeling old yet?) and here we are, able to order Korean barbeque in under an hour, whilst traveling home in a taxi hailed by the click of a button.

For any business with something to say, sell or provide, should by now have a presence in these app marketplaces and should be focusing their efforts on driving relevant traffic at a good price – so what are the ‘apportunities’ for such activity?

UAC – Google’s preferred choice

Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UAC) were released in 2015 in the AdWords interface, sitting alongside the already ageing App Install campaigns. Offering quick and easy coverage of both Google Play and the Apple App Store, they have fast become the go-to campaign in AdWords.

Unlike the App Install Campaigns, UAC essentially requires a couple of lines of text, some branded images, and a max bid and Google’s machine learning does the rest. It would be unfair to categorise UAC’s as a “set and forget” campaign, but the upfront legwork is vastly reduced and the results are indisputable.

With an apparent 140% more conversions per dollar compared to other app campaigns, as well as amassing six billion installs overall, it seems that UAC campaigns are the future of app activity through AdWords. In fact, Google is so impressed with the performance of these campaigns (and the rapid advancements in machine learning made since launch) that all other app campaigns will be sunsetted on 15 November. With this in mind, it is essential to lay the groundworks in order to embrace Google AI and these incredibly simple campaigns – no time to waste!

Google app extensions

Of course, to complement the usual AdWords campaign activity, there is an extension for that – Google’s app extensions have been in place for a long time now and are great for clients with limited budgets, who are wanting to drive app installs at no extra cost. Just as you would set up your sitelinks or callouts, simply create your app extensions, link your app to your regular ads and away you go – ‘appy days!

Apple Search Ads

On 25 April 2017, Apple FINALLY rolled out Apple Search Ads in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

Released stateside in October 2016 and boasting conversion rates of 50%, many clients and agencies have been eager to get their hands on these search ads and begin rigorous testing, so when they landed, squeals of joy could be heard from Luton to Loughborough.

According to Apple, the average cost per acquisition is around 78p and ad relevance is prioritised over ad spend, meaning that no developer can dominate the App Store SERP by simply flashing the green.

We currently have a test in place for one of our clients and the results are promising – key takeaway so far is that Apple Search Ads are incredibly cheap, perhaps too cheap, to the extent that we are yet to spend £100 on the test which has been running for close to 3 months. Recommendations here are to ensure a sizeable yet relevant keyword build out to ensure maximum coverage.

So, what’s next?

With Apple continuing with keyword matching and Google relying on their incredible machine learning algorithms, and both giants seeing very positive results, the future remains uncertain.

As far as we are concerned, ensuring complete coverage of all app opportunities is the best way to drive increased footfall in a rapidly growing marketplace.

ComScore declaring that 57% of all digital media usage had been driven through apps in the US this year further solidifies the fact that apps are becoming increasingly important to consumers and should, therefore, be at the forefront of business minds.

And with PPC app marketing becoming increasingly easy to set up and manage, there really is no time like the present to increase installs and make your clients, and their consumers, very, very ‘appy.

by Chris Moon
10 December 2017



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