Blog App advertising strategies: Effective ad...

App advertising strategies: Effective ads for TikTok, Twitter and Google UAC

As mobile ad spend continues to grow, marketers have an increasing pool of platforms to advertise on. But the app market has also become more competitive, so learning how to optimize your ads for specific platforms is crucial. Even a small change in your creatives can have a significant impact on conversion rates, so it’s important to test what works.

In our first post in the series, we covered everything you need to know about creating engaging ads for Facebook, Instagram and Reddit. This time around, we’re looking at another three smash-hit platforms: TikTok, Twitter and Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC). We also have some more words of wisdom from agency experts, including from Nikita Patel, Director of Search & Social at M&C Saatchi Performance, WEVENTURE’s Managing Director Enrico Bernardo, and Integr8’s Chief Marketing Officer Michael Rutkowski.

How to advertise on TikTok

TikTok is having a monster 2020, and now counts over 800 million active users every month. While the app is still in the early stages of monetization, it was able to bring in $176.9 million in revenue last year after entering the biddable ads space in April 2019.

Marketers are taking note of TikTok’s rapid growth this year, particularly as the self-service platform opened up for everyone in July – enabling app marketers to use TikTok as part of their user acquisition strategies. Michael says: “TikTok is a platform that consists mostly of videos and slideshows up to 60 seconds of length. When it comes to successful app install campaigns on TikTok, you need to closely follow what happens on the platform. Static images or slideshows won’t work remotely as good as videos that pick up current trends or ongoing popular hashtag challenges on the platform.”

Five types of in-app advertising on TikTok

  1. Biddable ads: Marketers can now bid on ad space within TikTok, and the highest bidder will have their video ads displayed in the app’s feed.
  2. Branded lenses: Marketers can also use custom, branded filters to promote their brand, offering an interactive experience via AR.
  3. Influencer package: Working with influencers relevant to your target audience is another key way to attract users, and is widely used by many brands.
  4. Hashtag challenge: By creating a hashtag challenge campaign, you encourage users to participate in a potentially viral movement on the platform.
  5. Brand takeover: Advertisers can also opt for large-format ads displayed once a day when a user opens the app.

TikTok advertising best practises

Communicate your key message immediately: Nikita explains that the creative, people-focused style of TikTok needs to be mirrored in ads so users connect them with their content experience. She also highlights the importance of CTAs: “Since TikTok is usually used with the sound on, you need to test different audio CTAs and find out what works.”

Use native in-feed video: Michael states that on TikTok, the most critical format for ad marketers is the native in-feed video, which comes in at 9:16 aspect ratio and can be up to 60 seconds long.

Keep on testing to see what trends work: Sticking to current trends and targeting viral hashtags on the platform deliver the best results and the most affordable traffic. Nikita advises marketers shouldn’t forget about testing: “Find out what works, whether it’s a voice that sounds young, a voice that mimics a popular TikTok sound, or the relevant TikTok song of that month. What works changes so quickly, your testing needs to be constant, and evolving with new insights learned.”

How to advertise on Twitter

The original microblogging platform, Twitter users have been using the website to share their hot takes on trending news topics since it was founded in 2006. Today, almost half of Americans aged 18-24 use Twitter, and the platform now counts 145 million monetizable daily active users.

Five types of in-app advertising on Twitter

  1. Promoted tweets: This ad format displays your Tweet on the timelines of users who aren’t already following you. Your promoted tweets will appear as a regular tweet with the inclusion of a ‘Promoted’ label.
  2. Promoted accounts: Also known as a follower campaign, Promoted Accounts enable you to target a specific audience group. Your account will appear as a ‘suggested’ profile to follow.
  3. Twitter Cards: These are customizable media units that link to your website or app. According to Twitter, promoted tweets with website cards have 43 percent higher engagement rates than Tweets with links.
  4. Promoted trends: This format displays your ad alongside a user’s lists of trending topics and on their Explore tab, and functions on both mobile and desktop.
  5. Promoted trend spotlight: Brands can also implement brand awareness campaigns with promoted trend spotlights, which can share static images, short videos and GIFs.

Twitter advertising best practices

Identify why your media is engaging for Twitter users: Adapt your videos for optimal performance on Twitter. Examples of engaging branded videos that can work well on Twitter include behind-the-scenes footage, customer success stories and educational videos. M&C Saatchi Performance’s Nikita says, “Twitter is an in the moment platform, therefore creative should be relevant to the targeting and messaging while being direct and informative.”

Keep your message short and direct: 80% of users will only watch a full video if it’s 30 seconds or less, so keep your messaging concise to increase user engagement. Don’t forget to also include an engaging call-to-action to further nudge users to interact with your video.

Ensure Twitter videos are mobile-friendly: 80% of Twitter users access the platform on a mobile device, and 93% of its video views take place on mobile - so it’s critical your videos are mobile-friendly. Best practice is to use an MP4 video format under 2 minutes and 20 seconds in length, and your video should have a H264 codec (quality of compression and decompression) and AAC audio. You should also always opt for as close to the 1920 x 2000 maximum video resolution as possible, and for an aspect ratio close to 2.39:1, but not higher.

How to create effective ads for Google UAC

Google’s UAC (Universal App Campaigns) is a one-stop-shop for promoting your mobile app with Google. This platform helps apps with growth and user engagement by using machine learning technology to target audiences based on defined goals.

UAC then goes on to implement ads across several Google-owned companies, simplifying the process for marketers. Enrico explains, “Google’s Universal App Campaigns not only deliver ads to users on Google Play but also on YouTube and in the Google Display Network. Google places ads according to their algorithms, on partner websites, and on third-party apps. With such a broad mix of placements, the potential reach is nearly unlimited.”

Because of Google’s dynamic merging of assets, Michael adds that “Text assets need to be created in a way that allows them to be combined with all other assets. Copy is best used to present concise messages about the app and its features, and should contain a clear call to action.”

UAC is a smart way to reach a large audience across multiple platforms and generate quality installs. It is also relatively easy to set-up because targeting, creatives and placement are controlled automatically by Google’s algorithms. This means they can be optimized for best results without additional work for your team.

Where can Universal App Campaigns run?

You can easily promote your app across the following properties with UAC: Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Display Network, Admob, Google search partners, Google Discover and publisher sites who host app ads. Google’s Display Network includes Gmail and all of Google’s apps, mobile news, blogs and other sites on mobile web.

You can find out more about where UAC ads appear, campaign optimization and bidding with Google’s Help Center.

Best practices for Google’s UAC

Smaller companies should focus on 1200 x 628 banner ads: Michael explains that “Among all our clients, when it comes to banners the 1200 x 628 format shows the highest reach on the Google UAC network regardless of the content of the ad.” With this in mind, he suggests that “especially for smaller companies with limited designer resources, the focus should be on that format followed by banners in 300 x 50 and 320 x 480.”

Ensure your video has clear and concise messaging: If you’re planning on using video ads, Nikita says: “For Google App Campaigns, video may be the best way to engage users, but it’s wasted if you aren’t communicating your message effectively. When leveraging video, you must have the key message at the start and ensure different USPs are being communicated via the copy. As the text is used in different combinations, it’s also important that one line has a CTA.”

Track and tweak your campaigns accordingly: Enrico stresses the importance of having rock solid conversion tracking, “as the automated algorithms of UAC base everything on conversions”. He also advises to pause low performing ad groups or creative sets on a per thousand ad clicks base if they underperform your KPIs - but to “tweak budgets or target CPAs with caution: don’t be tempted to alter anything on a below thousand ad clicks base.”

A big thanks to M&C Saatchi Performance, WEVENTURE and INTEGR8 for their expert advice! If you found this guide useful, you may be interested in learning more about developing your social media marketing strategy. You can also discover more insights about mobile marketing and why your brand needs a mobile app.

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