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Google Ads App Assets Guide

Google Ads app assets represent a crucial tool for businesses seeking to drive mobile app downloads and engagement.

Formerly known as extensions, app assets are specialized ad components within Google Ads that allow advertisers to promote their mobile applications directly within their search advertisements and include a direct link to the app.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of Google Ads app assets, detailing their functionality, setup, best practices, and advanced strategies to maximize their effectiveness.

Let’s get right into it!

What are App Assets?

App assets in Google Ads are specialized ad components designed to promote mobile applications. These assets allow advertisers to include a direct link to their app’s download page in their search ads, making it easier for users to discover and install the app.

App assets can be used in various ad formats, including text ads and display ads, and are particularly useful for driving app downloads and increasing user engagement.

Types of App Assets

Google Ads offers several types of app assets, each serving a unique purpose:

  1. App Install Assets: These assets include a direct link to the app’s download page on Google Play or the Apple App Store. They are designed to encourage users to install the app directly from the ad.
  2. App Engagement Assets: These assets are intended to drive existing users back to the app. They can include deep links that take users to specific sections of the app, encouraging re-engagement and increased usage.

Benefits of Using App Assets

Using app assets in Google Ads offers several benefits:

  • Increased Visibility: App assets enhance the visibility of your mobile app by placing it prominently within search ads.
  • Higher Engagement: By providing a direct link to the app’s download page, app assets simplify the process for users to install the app, leading to higher engagement rates.
  • Targeted Advertising: App assets allow for more targeted advertising by enabling deep linking to specific parts of the app, thereby catering to users’ specific interests and needs.

Comparison with Other Ad Assets

While app assets are specifically designed to promote mobile apps, other ad assets serve different purposes:

  • Sitelink Assets: These direct users to specific pages on your website, such as product pages or contact forms.
  • Callout Assets: Short snippets of text that highlight key features or benefits of your product or service.
  • Structured Snippet Assets: Highlight a list of specific aspects of your products or services, such as brands or types of products.

How App Assets Work

App assets operate by integrating directly with your Google Ads account and linking to your app’s listing in the app store. When users search for relevant keywords, your ads can appear with an app asset that includes a button for downloading the app.

This direct approach reduces the steps users need to take to find and install your app, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversion.

To set up app assets, you need to provide the app’s details, such as the app ID and the URL to the app store listing. Google Ads will then use this information to create the app asset and display it alongside your ads when relevant searches are made.

Key Metrics for App Assets

Tracking the performance of your app assets is essential for optimizing your campaigns. Key metrics to monitor include:

  • Install Rate: The percentage of users who install the app after clicking on the app asset.
  • Cost Per Install (CPI): The average cost incurred for each app install driven by the app asset.
  • Engagement Metrics: For app engagement assets, metrics such as in-app actions, session length, and retention rates are important to assess user interaction and long-term engagement.

Eligibility and Requirements

Account Eligibility

Before you can start using Google Ads app assets, it’s important to confirm that your Google Ads account meets certain eligibility criteria. These criteria are designed to ensure that only legitimate and well-maintained accounts have access to app assets.

Here are the key requirements:

  1. Account Age: Your Google Ads account must have been active for at least 90 days. This helps Google verify the stability and reliability of your account.
  2. Policy Compliance: Your account should have a good history of complying with Google Ads policies. Any history of policy violations may disqualify your account from using app assets.
  3. Active Campaigns: Your account must have active campaigns running, including search ads, for at least a month. This demonstrates ongoing engagement with the Google Ads platform.
  4. Sensitive Content: Accounts that fall under sensitive vertical categories such as sexual content, alcohol, gambling, or healthcare may have additional restrictions or may be ineligible for app assets.

Technical Requirements

In addition to meeting the account eligibility criteria, there are several technical requirements that must be fulfilled to effectively use app assets:

  1. App Details: Provide accurate details of your app, including the app ID and the URL to its listing on the relevant app store (Google Play or Apple App Store). These details are necessary for Google to link the app asset correctly.
  2. Linking App Stores: Ensure that your app’s listing on the app store is correctly linked to your Google Ads account. This involves verifying the app ownership and ensuring that the app is available for download.
  3. App Metadata: Make sure that the app metadata, such as the app name, description, and icons, are up-to-date and meet Google’s quality standards. This helps in presenting the app professionally in ads.

How to Set Up App Assets

Setting up app assets in Google Ads involves a series of steps that ensure your ads are correctly linked to your app’s download page.

Here are the steps on how to set up app assets:

  1. In Google Ads, click the Campaigns icon.
  2. Click the Assets dropdown in the section menu.
  3. Click Assets.
  4. You’ll now find a table with all of your assets. Click the plus button.
  5. Select App from the dropdown menu.
  6. Choose the level at which you’d like to run the app asset: Account, Campaign, or Ad group.
  7. Select Create new app asset or Use existing app assets.
  8. Enter the name of your app in the search field. You can choose between the Android and the IOS version of this app.
  9. Enter the Link text you’d like to appear as your call-to-action (CTA).
  10. Add any custom tracking parameters, or set start and end dates for your app asset.
  11. Click Save.

Manual vs. Automatic App Assets

Google Ads offers both manual and automatic options for app assets.

Understanding the differences between these options is crucial for making an informed decision:

  1. Manual App Assets: These require you to manually input all details and settings for the app asset. This option provides greater control over how the app asset appears and functions. You can customize the ad copy, select specific images, and tailor the call-to-action to better suit your target audience.
  2. Automatic App Assets: These are generated by Google based on data from your website and Google Ads account. This option can save time as Google automatically creates the assets, but it offers less control over the final appearance. Automatic app assets are suitable for advertisers who prefer a more hands-off approach.

Linking to App Stores

To ensure that your app assets function correctly, it’s essential to link them properly to the relevant app stores:

  1. Google Play Store: For Android apps, provide the app ID and the URL to the app’s listing on the Google Play Store. Verify that the app is available for download and that all metadata is accurate.
  2. Apple App Store: For iOS apps, provide the app ID and the URL to the app’s listing on the Apple App Store. Ensure that the app meets all Apple App Store guidelines and is ready for download.

Monitoring and Optimization

Once your app assets are live, continuous monitoring and optimization are crucial for maintaining their effectiveness:

  1. Track Performance Metrics: Monitor key performance indicators such as install rate, cost per install (CPI), and engagement metrics. These metrics will help you understand how well your app assets are performing.
  2. A/B Testing: Conduct A/B testing with different versions of your app assets to identify which elements are most effective in driving app installs and engagement.
  3. Adjust Strategies: Based on performance data, make necessary adjustments to your app assets. This may include updating ad copy, changing images, or altering call-to-action buttons to improve results.

Best Practices for App Assets

Crafting Effective App Assets

Creating app assets that effectively drive engagement and downloads requires careful attention to detail and a clear understanding of your target audience.

Here are some best practices to follow:

Writing Compelling Ad Copy

  1. Clear Call-to-Action (CTA): Use direct and clear CTAs such as “Download Now,” “Install Today,” or “Get the App.” Make sure the CTA conveys urgency and value.
  2. Highlight Benefits: Clearly state the benefits of downloading your app. Focus on unique features, user benefits, and any special offers or incentives for downloading.
  3. Concise and Informative: Keep the ad copy concise yet informative. Avoid unnecessary jargon and focus on delivering key messages that resonate with potential users.

Selecting Images and Multimedia

  1. High-Quality Visuals: Use high-resolution images that are visually appealing. Avoid using blurry or poorly cropped images.
  2. Relevant Content: Ensure that the images or videos used are relevant to the app and its functionality. Demonstrate key features or user experiences within the app.
  3. Adherence to Guidelines: Follow Google’s quality standards for images. Avoid logos, text overlays, and other elements that do not meet the specified criteria.

Optimization Tips

  1. A/B Testing: Regularly conduct A/B tests on different versions of your app assets to determine which variations perform best. Test different CTAs, images, and ad copy to find the optimal combination.
  2. Targeted Keywords: Use relevant keywords that align with your app’s functionality and target audience. This will help your ads appear in the most relevant search results.
  3. Performance Monitoring: Continuously monitor the performance of your app assets. Use key metrics such as install rate, cost per install (CPI), and engagement metrics to assess effectiveness and make necessary adjustments.

Customizing for Different Audiences

  1. Segmented Campaigns: Create different versions of app assets for different audience segments. Tailor the messaging and visuals to match the preferences and behaviors of each segment.
  2. Localized Content: For apps available in multiple regions, localize the ad copy and visuals to resonate with the local audience. This includes translating the content and using culturally relevant images.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

  1. Overloading Information: Avoid cramming too much information into the ad. Focus on one or two key messages.
  2. Ignoring Performance Data: Regularly review performance data and adjust your strategies accordingly. Ignoring this data can lead to missed opportunities for optimization.
  3. Inconsistent Messaging: Ensure that the messaging in your app assets is consistent with the overall brand messaging and other marketing materials.

Integrating App Assets with Other Campaigns

Synergizing with Other Assets

Integrating app assets with other Google Ads assets can enhance the overall effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  1. Directing Traffic: Use sitelink assets to direct users to specific pages on your website that complement the app download. For example, link to a features page or user testimonials.
  2. Reinforcing Messages: Sitelinks can reinforce the key messages of your app assets by providing additional information and resources.

Using Callout and Structured Snippet Assets

  1. Highlighting Features: Use callout assets to highlight key features and benefits of your app. Structured snippets can list specific aspects such as supported devices or available languages.
  2. Adding Credibility: Callouts can add credibility by mentioning awards, ratings, or user reviews.

Cross-Promotion Strategies

  1. Seasonal Campaigns: Integrate app assets into seasonal or event-based campaigns to leverage heightened interest during specific times of the year.
  2. Multi-Channel Promotion: Promote your app across multiple channels, such as social media, email marketing, and display ads, in addition to search ads.

Advanced Targeting Techniques

  1. Remarketing Campaigns: Use remarketing lists to target users who have previously interacted with your ads but have not yet downloaded the app. This helps in re-engaging potential users.
  2. Audience Segmentation: Segment your audience based on demographics, interests, and behaviors to tailor app assets more effectively. This can increase relevance and improve conversion rates.

Best Practices for Integration

  1. Consistent Branding: Ensure that the branding and messaging are consistent across all assets and campaigns. This helps in building a cohesive brand image.
  2. Coordinated Launch: Plan and coordinate the launch of app assets with other marketing initiatives to maximize impact. For example, synchronize with a new app feature release or a major marketing event.
  3. Tracking and Reporting: Use comprehensive tracking and reporting tools to monitor the performance of integrated campaigns. Analyze the data to understand the interaction between different assets and optimize accordingly.

Monitoring and Adjusting Integrated Campaigns

  1. Performance Analysis: Regularly analyze the performance of integrated campaigns to identify successful strategies and areas for improvement.
  2. Flexible Adjustments: Be prepared to make adjustments based on performance data. This might include changing ad copy, reallocating budget, or targeting new audience segments.

Key Metrics to Monitor

Monitoring key performance metrics is crucial for assessing the effectiveness of your app assets. Here are some important metrics to track:

  1. Install Rate: The percentage of users who install the app after clicking on your ad. This metric indicates the direct effectiveness of your app asset in driving downloads.
  2. Cost Per Install (CPI): The average cost incurred for each app install. Lower CPI indicates more cost-efficient campaigns.
  3. Engagement Metrics: Metrics such as session length, in-app actions, and user retention rates provide insights into how users interact with your app after installation.
  4. Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on your ad after seeing it. Higher CTR suggests that your ad copy and visuals are compelling.
  5. Conversion Rate: The percentage of clicks that result in a conversion (e.g., app install, in-app purchase). This metric helps in understanding the overall effectiveness of your campaign.

Analyzing Performance Data

  1. Performance Reports: Regularly review performance reports in Google Ads. Customize reports to include key metrics and compare data over different periods to identify trends.
  2. A/B Testing Results: Analyze the results of A/B tests to determine which variations of your app assets perform better. Use this information to refine your ads.
  3. Attribution Analysis: Use attribution models to understand the user journey and the impact of different touchpoints on conversions. This helps in allocating budget more effectively across channels.

Adjusting Strategies Based on Data

  1. Identify Weak Points: Use performance data to identify areas where your app assets are underperforming. Adjust ad copy, visuals, or targeting parameters to improve results.
  2. Optimize Bidding Strategies: Based on CPI and conversion data, adjust your bidding strategies to maximize ROI. Consider using automated bidding strategies like Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).
  3. Refine Audience Targeting: Use insights from performance data to refine your audience targeting. Focus on high-performing segments and explore new audiences that share similar characteristics.

Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Common Issues and Solutions

  1. Low Install Rate: If your app assets are not driving enough installs, review the ad copy and visuals. Ensure that the CTA is clear and compelling. Consider A/B testing different variations.
  2. High Cost Per Install (CPI): If CPI is higher than expected, review your bidding strategy. Lower bids gradually to find a more cost-effective level. Ensure that your targeting is precise to avoid wasted impressions.
  3. Conversion Tracking Issues: If conversions are not being recorded correctly, verify that the tracking code is implemented correctly. Use debugging tools to identify any issues and fix them promptly.

Regular Maintenance

  1. Update App Information: Regularly update the app information and metadata in your Google Ads account. Ensure that all details are accurate and reflect any changes or updates to the app.
  2. Refresh Ad Copy and Visuals: Periodically refresh the ad copy and visuals to keep them engaging and relevant. Update the assets to highlight new features or promotions.
  3. Monitor Policy Compliance: Stay informed about Google Ads policies and ensure that your app assets comply with all guidelines. Regularly review your account for any policy violations and address them promptly.

Routine Performance Checks

  1. Weekly Reviews: Conduct weekly reviews of your app asset performance. Look for any significant changes in key metrics and investigate the causes.
  2. Monthly Reports: Generate detailed monthly reports to assess long-term performance trends. Use these insights to make strategic adjustments to your campaigns.
  3. Seasonal Adjustments: Adjust your campaigns seasonally to align with changing user behavior and market conditions. Plan for peak periods and optimize your app assets accordingly.

Conclusion

Google Ads app assets are a powerful tool for driving mobile app downloads and increasing user engagement.

By following the detailed guidelines outlined in this guide, you can effectively set up, optimize, and maintain your app assets to achieve your advertising goals.

From understanding the eligibility requirements to mastering tracking and analytics, each step is crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of your campaigns.

If you want to keep reading about Google Ads, we’d recommend our Google Ads Auto-Tagging vs Manual Tagging comparison.

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder

Michael Schroder is a Google Ads and SaaS marketing consultant. He has been managing $200k-$300k monthly ad spend and has worked with 200+ SaaS companies. The thing that makes him unique is his data-led approach and his focus on SaaS businesses.