UAC Campaign Updates Announced at Google I/O 2017

At their annual developer conference on Wednesday, Google announced changes to the popular Universal App Campaign format that will give app developers new placements in the Google Play store—including on the Play homepage itself.

In addition to the homepage ad slots, the new Google UAC updates enable ads throughout app listing pages, so users can “discover” new apps via paid placements. Google hopes the new ad units will help developers reach a larger share of the 2 billion Android devices in use every month; to date, the company boasts that Universal App Campaigns have driven over 5 billion app installs.

The new Google Play listing page ads are similar to what is offered to iOS developers through Apple’s App Store advertising, which launched late in 2016. At present, however, the App Store’s homepage isn’t real estate available to paid listings—giving Android devs a slight edge on SOV opportunity (if they’re willing to bid enough for it).

Also coming to Google Universal App Campaigns are enhanced Smart Bidding options, enabling app developers to optimize their UACs to either a target return on ad spend (tROAS) or target cost per acquisition (tCPA). Conversion goals for UACs will expand beyond installs and in-app events to include revenue—giving advertising the option of a bidding strategy centered on high-value users, instead of just all of those who make purchases.

Finally—and, maybe, most welcomed—Google introduced App Attribution Partners at I/O 2017, to allow developers to integrate their 3rd-party app reporting data back into the AdWords platform. Seven global companies are included in the program’s roll-out: adjust, Adways, AppsFlyer, Apsalar, CyberZ, Kochava and TUNE. The partnership(s) are not unique to Google, as they already provide native data imports for CRM systems like Salesforce to give advertisers a single point of management for paid search, display, and YouTube campaigns.