Marketers have historically been concerned with driving mobile app downloads. However, users’ devices have become so super-saturated with apps, one in four installed mobile apps are never used. It’s time to come up with better strategies for engaging the right users and keeping them interested.


It’s well-worth considering YouTube as part of your mobile app marketing strategy. Half of YouTube’s one-billion-strong audience is on mobile. What’s more, this mobile audience is highly engaged, with each user spending an average of more than 40 minutes per viewing session.


Today, Boost Media explores YouTube mobile app marketing capabilities and other mobile app promotion options through Google video ads.


What are the app advertising options through YouTube and Google video ads?

Beyond YouTube Ads, Google offers a few other video advertising options for mobile app marketers, all of which are managed through AdWords. The terminology can be confusing, so let’s walk through each option.


  • Universal app campaign. This is a semi-automated way of marketing your app. With this option, Google decides where to place your ads across the search, display, and YouTube ad networks. You have less control over where your ads are shown, and how your creative looks—but it’s easier to set up.
  • Mobile app install campaigns. This is the non-automated version of a universal app campaign, which drives users to download your app via the App Store or Google Play Store. You can advertise on any or all of the following Google ad networks (search, display, and YouTube), and you get to control when/where/how your ads are shown, and how your budget is allocated.
  • Mobile app engagement campaigns. This is similar to a mobile app install campaign, except instead of driving new app downloads, you deep-link to a specific part of your app’s content to generate engagement from existing users. This option enables you to show video ads across the Google Display Network, but not on YouTube.
  • TrueView for app install campaigns. This option is designed to help you reach mobile YouTube users who may be interested in your app. These ads only run on the YouTube mobile or tablet apps and are not eligible to show when a user accesses YouTube from their mobile browser. This essentially encompasses a subset of ad inventory accessible to universal or mobile app install campaigns. If you want to show ads to users accessing YouTube through a mobile or tablet browser, or if you want to expand reach beyond YouTube into video advertising across the Google Display Network, use one of the aforementioned options instead.
  • Trial Run Ads. These are not specifically classified as video ads, but they’re a new ad format initially created for driving mobile gaming app downloads, enabling users to preview a game before downloading. This is called “app streaming” and it’s expected to be available for a wide range of apps beyond gaming. These video-like ads are shown in Google Search results.
  • In-app video advertising. You can also promote your app by showing video ads within other apps. This is technically not a stand-alone advertising campaign type, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s a capability within the Google Display Network which can be incorporated into a universal app campaign, or a mobile app install or engagement campaign.




Where to go from here

Once you’ve selected the type of campaign you’d like to run, there are a few things you’ll need: The URL of your app from both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store; the YouTube video URL; and to track iOS app downloads, you’ll need to install iOS app tracking (for Android app downloads, conversion tracking in AdWords is automatic). And of course, you’ll need video content for your ads!


Before you get started, we recommend checking out the Boost Media blog for other ideas on mobile app marketing.