Brite’s Universal App Campaign (UAC) Alternative14 min read


TL;DR – Google has replaced all Mobile App Install campaigns for YouTube TrueView, with Universal App Campaigns. In this blog, we draw attention to the alternative available to app marketers today, show the alternative setup that top User Acquisition teams choose, and provide pro tips to set up alternative User Acquisition campaigns on YouTube.

Some of the most successful YouTube campaigns last year were spun up by mobile app marketers to promote app downloads for games, utilities, services, and more. YouTube happens to be the perfect platform to find and connect with engaged viewers that are watching content they care about, and that is relevant to your app. But, times for app download marketers on YouTube have changed, and you can change with them to keep quality customers flowing into your app!

Among the biggest changes for App Download Marketers – Google announced that Universal App Campaigns (a powerful tool to promote apps on YouTube, Search and Display) would be fully replacing the Video App Install campaigns. The changes took effect beginning October 16th; when any new app install campaigns created in AdWords will run exclusively on UAC. Then on November 15th, all existing Search, Display and YouTube app promo campaigns stopped running altogether.

App Install VS. Universal App Campaigns

According to PPC Hero, here’s the difference between the old vs. new app install campaigns in AdWords:

Mobile App Install Campaigns are built around a single network, and as advertisers, we have complete control regarding bidding, ad copy, devices, ad schedule and so forth.

Universal App Campaigns give you the ability to promote iOS and Android apps without doing any heavy lifting. After setting up the campaign, including setting location and target CPI, Google takes over and begins optimizing based on performance while showing ads across Search, Display, and YouTube.

While Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UAC) makes it easier to drive user acquisition for startups or new app marketers, the termination of traditional Mobile App Install Campaigns means that sophisticated UA teams will lose control and transparency over app campaign outcomes.

Because of this, we’ve seen top User Acquisition App marketers like onX Hunt by onXmaps (the #1 Grossing Navigation app) and Babbel (the #9 grossing app in Education) begin experimenting with streamlining their desktop & mobile UA campaigns. This workaround is for advanced UA teams to help preserve the transparency needed to make informed decisions on targeting, bid adjustment, ad creative, ad scheduling, and device allocation strategies.

So how are top User Aquisition teams achieving this? They make device dynamic, responsive landing pages.

Device Dynamic, Responsive Landing Pages

A device dynamic landing page recognizes which kind of device a user is using and dynamically serves a personalized experience based on that device. This means that if a user is on an iOS mobile device on YouTube, and they click the call-to-action banner, they’ll land on an iOS-specific page. Same goes for any other device from desktop to tablet to OS. The flexible nature of the pages based on a users’ device enables UA pros, like onXmaps and Babbel, to make slight changes on their landing pages for an optimal user experience – to ultimately increase conversions from the Google Play or App Store.

One of our favorite examples to date is onX Hunt’s dynamic landing page: Try visiting first from your desktop, then from your phone to see the experience. onX Hunt has taken care to optimize the page for each device. Upon page load from iOS here’s what you’ll see:

Brite's Universal App Campaigns Alternative responsive design

When visiting from an iOS mobile device, the app store link is prominently displayed as a CTA at the top of the page and leads you to the app store when you click on ‘Start free trial.’ Continue scrolling on mobile iOS and you’ll see another dynamic CTA button encouraging you to download the app now. Once again the CTA sends you to the app store as it perceives you are on Apple iOS!

While on your desktop the same CTA opens a lead form on a new page, as demonstrated below:
Universal App Campaigns Alternative desktop CTA

In the middle of the page, on the desktop version, the team at onX Hunt has also included a CTA option to send yourself a text message and choose your mobile device (another clever lead form option).

UAC Alternative Call to Action

Now that you know how good the device dynamic landing pages look, you’ll need to know about the benefits of using these pages in your YouTube TrueView campaigns.

Unified User Acquisition Campaign

If you are like the app download marketers that we’ve talked to, and you care to preserve the transparency and granular control of the old “Mobile App Install” campaigns on YouTube, you’ll want to know about Unified User Acquisition Campaigns.

We’ve heard that the benefits far outweigh the limitations. According to the pros, the benefits of setting up a Unified User Acquisition Campaign are 4-fold:

  • Universal App Campaign workaround: with this strategy, you can continue to run mobile UA campaigns with TrueView and simply use the CTA to drive to the landing page instead of the app download unit. This helps restore transparency and control on your app download campaigns.
  • Streamlined campaigns: you don’t have to set up multiple campaigns with the same targeting for desktop/iOS/Android which helps save your valuable time
  • Better experience/higher conversion rates: customers aren’t always ready to purchase from seeing an ad then hitting the app store. This strategy allows a user to hit a landing page that has much more information that they can consume to build trust and then convert, potentially driving higher LTV customers
  • Streamlined retargeting: since you’re sending all your traffic to one page, you can place all your different retargeting pixels on this page. Simple.

While limitations do exist, they don’t seem to be stopping marketers from shifting to Unified User Aquisition Campaign strategy. Here’s what the pro’s say about the campaign limitations:

  • Constrained to YouTube TrueView (no other in-app video ads. Brite does not target these anyway.)
  • Requires one extra step (click) before app install
  • Target CPA bidding not currently available (Google is adding this to all campaign types “soon”

Ready to launch your very own Unified User Acquisition Campaign? Follow the steps that Brite’s Campaign Experts recommend:

AdWords Setup

To begin, set up a video campaign like you normally would for video on YouTube.

Select Video for Unified User Acquisition Campaign

Follow our guide for full campaign setup and connection to Brite HERE.

Prepare Device Dynamic Landing Page

Here is where we break away from the old Video App Install campaign set up. Previously the App Install campaigns enabled Call-to-Action links to drive directly to the App Store (or Google Play Store) with an “Install” button – open exclusively to marketers for App Download campaigns. We’re losing this functionality with the onset of Universal App Campaigns. But, the CTA overlay available through AdWords is your portal to get users from YouTube to your device dynamic landing page. So in this step, you should create your own device dynamic landing page!

Connect YouTube CTA with Device Dynamic Landing Page

Next, we’ll use the CTA Overlay unit on TrueView video ads to drive traffic to this responsive landing page. You can read step by step instructions on how to set up a CTA for your YouTube campaigns HERE.

Connect YouTube CTA with Device Dynamic Landing Page

The CTA Overlay can be more useful than the “install” button for app install campaigns. It works on the mobile YouTube app, it sits right in the video frame as opposed to underneath the video, and it moves in and out of frame drawing the user to the action!

So now that you have your dynamic landing page setup, just adjust the display and destination URLs accordingly as you set up your CTA in AdWords – and you’ll be on your way to unifying your User Acquisition campaigns to drive more quality app downloads and better cost per acquisition. 

What’s Next?

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a really effective way to target your Unified User Acquisition campaigns on YouTube. Babbel and OnXmaps both use Contextual Content Targeting (otherwise known as Placement Targeting) on YouTube to drive their CPA down and improve quality of each user they convert.

Here’s what Babbel, a top language-learning app, had to say about Brite’s technology:

“Babbel has selected Brite Content based on their ‘Placement Targeting’ technology to convert new customers from YouTube. It is based on content relevancy, instead of audience signals. Brite’s approach ensures that our YouTube marketing budget is spent on viewers watching videos that we know are relevant to Babbel’s app. Their Placement Targeting technology enables us to get our ad in front of more qualified users. This naturally lowers our cost per acquisition, which is the most important Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for us.” ~ Pedro Wernek, SEM Manager, Babbel

If you’re ready to improve your mobile app campaign performance on YouTube, try Brite’s 14-day free trial by clicking below.

All the things you need to know about generating revenue with video marketing In 2018.

We’re sharing the best opportunities in video & helping you avoid the big mistakes. Sign up to get updates from Brite's video marketing growth blog.

You might also like…

Brand Safety is in the Eye of the Beholder

Brand Safety is in the Eye of the Beholder

Over the past year there have multiple incidents of brand safety issues that have plagued YouTube. Much has been said on what, if anything, YouTube can do to address these issues and regain the trust of large-scale advertisers. And to that point, the argument could be...

How To Measure Conversion Of Online Video Campaigns

How To Measure Conversion Of Online Video Campaigns

When it comes to measuring a video ad’s success, views aren’t everything. This article is the fourth in series to support marketers that want to learn how to measure video marketing ROI. Our mission is to help you identify the right Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)...