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What Google AdWords Update Means for App Marketing Pros

Posted by Jai Jaisimha

05 April 2017

This post is part of an ongoing series helping app marketers drive scale and increase ROI through keyword and Facebook interest targeting. Download our free ebook or connect with us directly

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What's happening with the update to Google AdWords

Google AdWords’ close variant targeting aims to make it easier for marketers to capture intent in their keyword targeting. While that might sound like a good thing for those looking to add scale to their keyword-based campaigns, it could make acquisition more expensive.

Building on an algorithm change in 2014 that broadened matching to account for misspelling, typos, and plurals, this change goes a few steps further by making three major changes:

  • Ignoring word order
  • Ignoring functional words and replacing functional words to create matches
  • Bundling Exact Match with Close Variant Targeting

Examples:

Re-ordering Keywords to create a match

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Changing functional words to create a match

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Impact of close variant targeting

While the update might save you some time crafting your ever-growing keyword groupings, it also takes away some control and creates more competition within app categories.

The most noticeable change, you may have already noticed, is the bundling of exact match from the close variants algorithm. Without a way to unbundle those functions, app marketers will pay for reaching audience that are not relevant in scenarios where word order matters and increasing overall CPI.

More importantly, the update increases competition and spend for app marketers that have benefited with lower acquisition cost thanks to finding less competitive keyword combinations and groupings. With a larger share of keyword combinations automatically captured by the AdWords algorithm, there are fewer long-tail opportunities which could add up over the course of a campaign.

 

How to adjust your app marketing efforts

For years, app marketers have been evolving their keyword strategy to get an edge against the competition. As more and more app marketers compete in the same space with the same methods, any gap that still exists is closing quickly as Google automates an ever-broadening scope of intent-based signals.

To achieve greater scale at lower cost moving forward, app marketers must go beyond traditional keyword strategies which rely exclusively on intent-based targeting and embrace affinity targeting.

Affinity targeting analyzes user behavior and all available data among high affinity users and maps them to a robust and diverse set of intent-based keywords so you can reach a broader relevant audience and decrease competition. In fact, Appnique customers have used using affinity-based targeting to drive significant scale and enjoy up to 25% lower CPI.

 

Best practices for an affinity-based keyword strategy

If you're ready to begin scaling your install campaigns and go beyond intent-based tactics, you're going to need a new approach and some updated tools. We've pulled together the four most important principles to consider before you get started. 

 

1.) Use complete data

To identify common attributes among high affinity users that can be used for targeting, you need an appropriately sized data set. Some tools use device IDs to create a prototype of your desired user, but that doesn’t work for new apps without an install base. and is too limiting. Afterall, you don’t just want to target users similar to those who have already downloaded your app, you want to reach an entire universe of users that are likely to download.

To get the largest data set possible, Appnique’s algorithm finds relationships between your app and other apps in the store that are similar based on a variety of data points our tool constantly collects and analyzes. It then uses the entire audience of your app, and all other related apps to find correlations in attributes among high affinity users to create a profile of your ideal user. The larger set of data provides a more complete view of an app’s potential audience.

 

2.) Focus on behavior

Behavior is an excellent indicator of relevancy. After finding relationships between users based on attributes, you can discover even more relevant audience by uncovering correlation in behavior.

Sample of behaviors to analyze:

  • What other apps have they downloaded?
  • What are people that are downloading my app or others like mine searching for outside of my category?
  • What keywords are apps like yours using to target their users?

Our algorithm does this by analyzing data from across app stores and the web to find correlations in behavior and then maps those to keywords that you can use across platforms to target an even larger relevant audience.

 

3.) Continuously optimize

The app marketplace moves fast. To stay in front of the right users and discover new relevant segments, you have to refine your targeting over the life of a campaign. Appnique’s algorithm constantly analyzes and updates to deliver new keywords that you can use to update and refine your keyword groups over the life of a campaign, improving ROI and keeping you in front of the right audience.

 

4.) Embrace transparency

The beauty of an affinity-based keyword strategy is that it’s completely transparent. Tools like Appnique give you the control to build your keyword lists using our tool (we take a similar approach for Facebook Precise Interest targeting as well) and run your campaigns in AdWords yourself so you can see what performs and what doesn’t.

You should be skeptical of any solution that offers a “black box”and ask you to “trust the magic”. Not only are you likely overpaying, you can’t apply the targeting parameters across all the platforms you care about the way you can with Appnique.

 

Get started, today.

To get started with an affinity-based keyword strategy of your own, download our eBook: How to Scale Your Google AdWords App Install Campaigns. To learn more about Appnique, check out one of our case studies or contact us today.

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Topics: Industry news

    

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