Google I/O 2015 has come and gone, and while there were many rumors about what to expect, to say that the emphasis was on mobile is an understatement!
Google announced a slew of improvements and new tools focused on improving app promotion and discoverability, optimization of user acquisition campaigns and giving app publishers better insights with enhanced measurement. In fact, with so many debuts and highlights to be rolled out in the coming months, we thought we’d pull out the most important, need-to-know news that every app marketer should have on their radar. (SPOILER: Not just for Android apps – iOS app marketers keep reading!!!)
Here’s a quick recap of the 8 key Google I/O 2015 takeaways for app marketers:
1. A/B testing on Google Play & Catalog Customization
When it comes to optimizing your app store listing for conversion, it was impossible to customize & test variations – until now! Google Play publishers can now set up A/B variations (up to 3, plus the original) for images and app descriptions to measure impact on conversion rates. A/B tests can be activated directly from the Google Play Developer Console and don’t require any addition code in the app.
Furthermore, publishers with multiple apps can now customize their catalog page with a banner image, their logo and a featured app, all in an attempt to better promote all of the apps they have in the store.
2. App Install Analytics in Google Play, Google Analytics for iOS
Another big announcement for app marketers came in the form of improved app install analytics. Google is launching new tracking systems for Android app developers that be accessed via the Google Play Developer Console, without the need to install any special tags. The app install tracking will track paid and organic Play store impressions, app installs and in-app monetization.
Google has also been working with 20 advertising partners to bring Google Analytics to iOS app developers, allowing them to measure the success app install ad campaigns, as well as the lifetime value of the users acquired via paid ads.
3. Universal App Campaigns
Google’s new “Universal App Campaigns” aims to simplify app promotion with a one-stop shop for paid install ads across all of Google. Developers, and those who are new to buying ads with Google, can now set up campaigns across Search, the Google Play store, AdMob, the Google Display Network and YouTube via Adwords or directly from their Google Play Developers Console. Aside from making campaign set up a breeze, publishers can also track each campaign’s impact using Google’s new analytics for Google Play.
Note: Search Ads on Google Play and Universal App Campaigns will be rolled out to developers and advertisers in the coming months.
4. App Indexing for iOS
iOS app marketers have more reason to expect increases in adoption and app discoverability via Google search. Google announced that iOS users who search via the Google or Chrome app will now be able to find content that exists on iOS apps installed on the users phone. Currently released to a limited number of apps, including Huffington Post, OpenTable, Pinterest, Google is working on making this feature available to more apps soon.
In addition to content, users will also be able to find new iOS apps to download via search – a feature that has been available to apps on Google Play store for some time now.
5. Family-friendly content
First mentioned back in March, Google officially unveiled their family-friendly section highlighting appropriate content, from apps and games to videos and even books on Google Play with a new green star icon. In addition to the icon, Google is also making it easier for parents to make decisions about what to download by providing labeling that shows if an app is ad-supported, local content maturity ratings, as well as improved parental controls to restrict mature content downloads.
6. Cloud Test Lab
Need to test your app on multiple devices but can’t buy multiple smartphones? Later this year, Google will roll out their Cloud Test Lab which will allow developers to test their app on 20 of the top Android devices for free. The service will let developers upload their app and automatically run crash tests on each screen, as well as provide video that simulates the user experience across the various devices.
7. New AdMob tools
Google also introduced new AdMob tools to help app developers better target and scale monetization with in-app advertising. Admob has improved targeting with their Audience Builder tool (Beta), allowing developers to pick and choose which user segments they wish to show ads to. To further improve the effectiveness of in-app advertising, they have also expanded their mediation program to include over 40 partners – including Facebook, Twitter and other ad networks – to help developers increase fill rates, in a cost-effective manner.
Recognizing the success of native ads, Admob is also making it easier to integrate the popular format with Native Ads Express. The service would allow serve native ads according to your CSS specs – taking away the need of custom engineering work.
8. App Invites
Finally, Google debuted a new product called “App Invites” which allow users to invite their contacts to download an app via SMS or email. Tapping into a users contacts, App Invites works across Android and iOS to help app publishers increase their viral user acquisition, but also promises to improve referral and onboarding thanks to the ability to customize flows with deep linking. App Invites can also be tracked using custom reports in Google Analytics, giving marketers insight into the effectiveness of invites and eventual conversions of these new users.
Were you following Google I/O 2015? What updates did you find most exciting? Let us know in the comments below!