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How to optimize for Google UAC (Universal App Campaigns)?

Home » Digital Marketing » Google Ads » How to optimize for Google UAC (Universal App Campaigns)?

Matija Hanicar

Created: April 25, 2019

Last Update: November 22, 2019

The development of technology, smartphones, and the Internet inevitably changed how we do marketing. Nowadays, you don’t have to own a tv network to reach millions of people. Laptop and internet connection will do the job. With Google UAC, you can promote your apps on the largest Google properties, including Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, AdMob, Gmail, and the Google Display Network.

According to Statista, there will be 13,09 billion smartphones in the world by the end of 2019.

Modern marketing is all about performance. Machine learning and artificial intelligence changed the way marketing dollars are invested in mobile marketing campaigns. Human input is minimal, you don’t need to choose to whom, where, or how your ads are going to be shown.

AI is listed as one of the 12 risks that threaten human civilization, among threats as nuclear war or an asteroid impact. But instead of thinking about AI as a threat, we can think about it as an opportunity. Jobs that took days to finish in the past, can now be done in a matter of hours.

Google made app advertisers’ job even easier with the launch of Universal App Campaigns. With this type of campaign, it is easier to get your app into the hands of more users. UAC allows advertisers to show their ads across all Google’s ad products, including; Google Search, Google Play, Gmail, Youtube, AdMob and Google Display Network. In the past, you had to set up separate campaigns Search and Google Play, you can use UAC with few lines of text, images and their bid and the service handles the rest. You can choose what to optimize the campaigns for (installs or in-app conversions).

How Google UAC works?

If you ever launched a campaign on Google, you know you need to design creatives for individual ads. For Google UAC, you don’t need to design individual ads for Universal App campaigns. Google will use ad text ideas and assets from your app’s store listing to design multiple ads formats and networks.

You’ll need to think come up with a catchy phrase which describes your up (Up to 25 characters), provide a starting bid, budget and you’re good to go!

What can you optimize Universal App Campaigns (UAC) for?

There are two different types of campaigns you can optimize your UAC for, depending on what your goals are:

Google UAC
2 types of Universal App Campaigns (UAC) optimizations.

Installs – This type of campaign optimizes toward driving the volume of your app installs.

In-app conversions (“value-driven campaigns”) – This type of campaign optimizes toward the cost of a specific in-app event (post-install). For this type of campaign, you’ll have to set up event tracking through your analytics and/or attribution provider & allow it to post results back into Google Ads Manager. Google offers hassle-free click-click integrations for the biggest analytics/attribution platforms, while smaller providers can be integrated through 3rd party integrations.

It is not recommended to run campaigns optimized for in-app conversions straight away. It would be better to gradually introduce that type of campaigns, after running Installs objective for the first month or two. The algorithm is learning from your users, as they use the app, so it is better to give algorithm some time so he can learn more about the type of users you should focus your marketing money on.

Where to place UAC:

  • Google Search
  • Google Play
  • YouTube
  • Gmail
  • AdMob Display
  • Google Display Network


Google Universal App Campaign placements
Google Universal App Campaign placements.

Creatives optimization for UAC

With UAC, you don’t have to think about manual placement or simplified bidding, machine learning will do that for you. You can focus on important things like in-app action targeting or ROAS targeting. Your job is to focus on the creatives and what happens further down the funnel.

Focus on the ad assets – the elements of the campaign you have the most control over. Ad assets are all the elements of the ads you need to provide: ad text ideas, image assets, and video assets.

Considering the above-mentioned placements, you have 2 options to provide ad assets.

There are 2 ways an App campaign can get assets:

creative assets google
2 ways an App campaign can get assets.

When creating a campaign, you can upload the assets you’d like. It is only required to upload text assets, but all other asset types (images, videos) are recommended.

UAC will also pull assets from your app’s store listing page. Those assets are your app’s icon, title, rating or screenshot images.

UAC ad assets – text

You’ll need to provide some ad text ideas for UAC. You can enter up to 4 ad text ideas, each up to 25 characters. Google recommends keeping one text under 20 characters so it could fit in smaller spaces. That text will be used to generate your ads in different orders and several formats. When thinking about text ad assets, have in mind that they’ll appear in different formats on different networks.

Some of your future users might be watching a video on Youtube, while others can discover your app in the Google Play Store. In both cases, the user will first see your App’s title. Optimize App’s title so it can be easily discovered in the Google Play Store – one of the important elements of App Store Optimization (ASO), but it should also work for UAC.

When optimizing the title of your app, keep it simple, stupid. 😂 Jokes aside, it should be simple so everyone can understand what the app is about straight away. Also, don’t repeat the keywords that are in your app title, try to find another benefit of your app or additionally explain the app’s title.

UAC ad assets – images

If you’re feeling really lazy, you can skip this step. Only required ad asset of UAC that you need to provide is text.

But it’s always better to have more control over creative assets. Since there are so many placements, there are many possible image types and dimensions.

Google recommends that you upload a lot of images. Try to upload as many as possible.

The most valuable format for native ads are landscape images, and the most valuable format for interstitial ads are portrait images.

Formats supported: .jpg, .gif, .png
Size limit: max. 150 KB
Dimensions (most common): 320 x 50 px, 320 x 480 px, and 300 x 250 px

UAC ad assets – videos

To attach video ad assets to the Universal App Campaign, you’ll need to upload videos to YouTube first.

The orientation of the video can be landscape, portrait or square. If you don’t have a video that you’d like to use in your UAC, Google can use video from the app’s listing in the Google Play Store.

Video creatives are often “moneymakers” and they bring the most valuable users. A picture is worth a thousand words, imagine then how much can a video tell about your app?

A user who watched a video about your app will also have a better understanding of what is your app about and it will be more likely to become an engaged user. Create videos that target your audience with the right messaging, instead of relying on something generated automatically.

Ratios for UAC videos: Landscape (16:9), Square (1:1), Portrait (2:3)
Resolutions: 1920×1080 (landscape), 1080×1080 (square), 1080×1620 (portrait)

Google hasn’t mentioned which resolutions to use, but the resolutions above are the ones we use most often.

Example from Google for a Yoga app

For example, the makers of a yoga app called “Balance” are trying to attract new users to their app. They create an App campaign to drive installs. They upload text, image, and video assets.

When a user searches the Google Play Store for “yoga”, an ad placement becomes available in the search results. The campaign chooses ad assets to create an ad to fill that placement.

Google example for a yoga app
Google UAC Universal App Campaign example for a yoga app.

If another user performs a similar search, the App campaign can select different assets to create ads that are uniquely relevant to that person. As more users see the ad, the campaign learns which assets are more likely to convert for different users and placements. The more conversion data an App campaign collects, the better it understands how to build ads that attract valuable users to your app.

To sum up our thoughts on Google UAC:

Google Universal App Campaigns have certainly made our lives easier. Mobile ad networks now take more and more data into consideration as well as the events that come before or after you’ve installed the app.

Both Facebook and Google introduced an advanced, hassle-free way to advertise your mobile app. On Google, Universal App Campaigns give you a way to drive more downloads of your app while focusing on the creative work, leaving all the thinking to the algorithm. The best-performing images and text will be shown more often.

Ad networks changed in the past few years, going from a somewhat manual form of optimization to an algorithmic-based one. UAC picks the best campaign creatives for you, you only need to provide as many different variants as possible. That can be a demanding part, creating the right creatives for your target audience – but don’t worry, we’re an expert at creative production!

As time goes by, a critical part is to analyze the ad assets you provided and update them based on their performance. Our approach to work is data-driven and performance-oriented. Each month, Udonis Client Direct serves over 350 million impressions, acquires over 2 million mobile users & generate over 1.5 million leads for its partners, and we can help you scale your mobile app too.

What is our conclusion about UAC? Leave the thinking to the algorithm while you focus on the creative tasks – or hire us to do them for you! 🖌

About Udonis:

In 2018 & 2019, Udonis Inc. served over 14.1 billion ads & acquired over 50 million users for mobile apps & games. We’re recognized as a leading mobile marketing agency by 5 major marketing review firms. We helped over 20 mobile apps & games reach the top charts. Want to know how we make it look so effortless? Meet us to find out.


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Mark E. JohnsonSlavica GrgićJohn Benz Recent comment authors
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John Benz
John Benz

Great post Slavica

Slavica Grgić
Slavica Grgić

Glad you like it, thanks! Keep reading, new post coming today! 💪✔️😊

Mark E. Johnson
Mark E. Johnson

Matija, how many images or videos do you recommend per campaign?

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