For years Google’s top executives talked about entering the in-app game market with a suite of tools to help advertisers reach a specific audience. Targeted advertising and the ability to segment users, Google’s prime asset, would help developers and brands create a following in apps.
On Wednesday, Google announced a suite of tools for developers and brands to address what the company calls the “app lifecycle.” The five solutions as part of a suite of tools in Google Ads sit in three buckets: prelaunch, launch and post-launch.
Smart Segmentation, one of the most interesting tools announced in Google AdMob, uses machine learning to segment players based on their likelihood to spend on in-app purchases. The ad may serve up in the beginning, middle or at the end of the game or not serve at all, depending on many data inputs and the propensity of the player to make an in-app purchase, explains Sissie Hsiao, vice president of product, mobile app advertising at Google.
Google has tested smart segmentation with a handful of publishers and apps during the past six months.
When asked to cite the type of data used in the ad targeting, Hsiao said Google “only brings in data sets we have consent to use. We do not bring in search data.”
Hsiao said Smart Segmentation is not used across Google’s other properties, but it might be just the perfect mix of technology to save brands money on advertising.
There are 2.2 billion mobile gamers globally, according to Hsiao, who cites 2019 data from Mediakix. The biggest challenge comes when users download the app but it goes unopened or rarely used.
Ad Campaigns for App Engagement, also in the post-launch suite of tools, helps brands find and retain users who have the app installed on their phone but have not been using it. Through this tool, advertisers can remind users to open the app, serve a customized message or coupon for in-app goods, or highlight what they are missing to bring them back into the app.
When a game launches, about half of the installations in the first year occur in the first eight weeks of the launch. “Apps need to have great brand awareness and connect with their users at launch,” Hsiao said.
Prior to launching the apps, Google App campaigns for engagement enables advertisers to re-engage users across Google’s largest properties such as Search, Display, YouTube, and soon Google Play. Advertisers can choose to reach a variety of audiences to drive in-app engagement.
With preregistration ads within Google App campaigns developers can promote the opportunity for players to register for new titles before the game is released and then receive a push notification once the game becomes available and ready for download in Google Play.
Developed and launched about two years ago, Google has added Rewarded Ads into Play from AdMob. It will become available in the play console for use during the prelaunch stage to help developers create, test and manage the ads, along with in-app purchases.
Google also announced a new bidding mechanism, Maximum Conversion Bidding in Apps Campaigns allows fixed budgets. It’s for more established advertisers with less constrained budgets.