In the first part of our Apptimization series, we covered Killer Techniques to Help Rank Your Mobile App. Now, in part two of the series, we invite you to learn how to generate additional revenue from your app from paid search engine marketing (SEM). 34% of app users have upgraded from a free app to a paid version, making this the most widely experienced business model.

Why not tap into that market with your app? SEM can help you reach your audience, optimize app ads, encourage paid downloads, and land your app in the Top and Trending Lists of the Google Play Store.

App Ad Tactics

Using AdWords is a great way to bolster app downloads. Google offers a few different kinds of app ads, all of which can be used to help your app succeed in the Google Play Store:

  • Click-to-download App Ads – This type – the most cost-effective way to drive downloads – consists of either a special text or banner ad promoting your app to a smartphone user. When a user searches and the click-to-download ad appears, they’ll have access to image previews, a description of the app, and pricing and rating information [when applicable]. Users who click on the ad are linked directly to the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store to download your app. These ads can be delivered in both iOS and Android apps in the Google Display Network.
  • Click-to-call App Ads – This type includes a click-to-call button and phone number in the mobile ad so users can call your business directly. The phone number replaces the display URL and is accompanied by a click-to-call button. Users have to click twice to confirm their intent to call or visit your site, making for a more qualified lead.
  • Mobile App Extension – This allows advertisers to include a mobile app download link in search ads, giving them a new way to distribute apps. The Mobile App extension also provides users with another channel for app discovery. Google noted a 6% rise in click-through rates for beta testers [such as GrubHub and Quicken Loans] who were using Mobile App extensions.  App extensions, which appear on Google.com on smartphones, can help increase your app downloads and, in turn, app rankings.
  • YouTube Ads – YouTube is now enabling app installs as an enhancement to the TrueView ad format they currently offer.

Measuring and Tracking SEM Success

Google Play interacts with your Google Analytics account to make tracking and measuring the success of your SEM efforts easier. Google uses insights from Google Play to give you keyword suggestions that can help you reach your target audience. Several signals are used for these recommendations, including: the apps a user has downloaded, the frequency with which those apps are used, and the kinds of in-app purchases they’ve made.

Plus, you can keep up with your SEM AdWords campaigns in a few different ways:

  • Tracking App Downloads – You can now track Android app downloads from AdWords campaigns by looking at AdWords conversions. For iOS users, tracking only takes place on iOS downloads driven by ads served within other apps on the Display Network – not those driven by ads served on mobile websites [such as Google Search or partner sites].

    Mobile Display campaigns allow you to reach people using apps similar to yours. Showing your ads to those who are most likely to be interested in apps [people already using them] improves their efficiency. Plus, increased downloads help improve your Google Play Store ranking, in turn allowing you to reach more potential customers.
  • Conversions – Not only does Google’s mobile app solutions track app downloads as conversions, but it can track in-app purchases as well. Developers can learn key information about their users, which apps they use, their device type, and geographic locations. In addition, Mobile App Analytics has Google Play integration, which shows you what brought your users to the app. This is vital when you’re deciding where to allocate SEM resources in the future.
  • Estimated Total Conversions Gain insight into how AdWords drives conversions for your business by checking out both the conversions seen today [online sales] and an estimate of conversions which take multiple devices to complete [known as cross-device conversions]. This type of conversion starts as a click on Google search ad on one device and ends on another device or in a different browser. Cross-device is the first new conversion type to launch as part of Google’s Estimated Total Conversions, which can also track phone calls.

Re-engaging Your Customers

80% of downloaded apps are used once and then deleted, and of the 30 apps [on average] which users do keep, only a few are regularly used. In an effort to encourage users to rediscover installed apps, advertisers can now direct users to relevant pages in their existing apps.

For example, if someone does a mobile Google search for “Chicago hotels” but already has the Hotel Tonight app installed on their smartphone or tablet, Google can take them directly to the “Hotels in Chicago” page within that app [instead of being taken to the app’s landing page].

To further access the success of you app advertising, AdWords will soon be able to measure conversions across the entire lifecycle of the app, from install to re-engagement to in-app purchases.

Re-engagement encourages users to rediscover the apps they’ve already downloaded.

Paid search engine marketing is a fantastic way to bolster the success of your existing organic search strategies. While this concludes our Apptimization series, there are still other ways to optimize your SEM campaign to help rank your app in the Google Play Store.

If you are looking for an agency to help you get started with the Apptimization process, download our ebook, and learn how to properly find and evaluate the right agency for your business!

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Cited Sources: Google Blog – Inside Adwords; Think with Google – Connecting Consumers to Apps

Authors: Dianna Kersey, BFO SEOlogist, on Google+ in collaboration with Fred Midthun, BFO SEM Account Manager, on Google+