App promoters: Are you prepared for a surge in downloads this holiday season?

With 29% of shoppers planning to purchase smartphones this holiday season, there’s no doubt that some of the shiniest new mobile devices will be wrapped up under the tree this Christmas. Little time will be wasted before happy new smartphone and tablet owners begin searching for the best apps to fill these new devices. So it’s no surprise that according to Google Trends, during the week following Christmas last year, searches for “best tablet apps” rose by more than 70%, while searches for “free phone apps” jumped by about 37%. The holidays are prime time for app promotion, so it’s important for marketers to make sure their app stands out from the crowd.

Maximizing reach with search and display ads

Whether you have a shopping companion app, a banking app, or a mobile gaming app, it’s important to reach the right audience to drive downloads and increase awareness. Many marketers have made mobile work for them by using search and display strategies together to raise interest and drive downloads of their app.

TripIt, a mobile travel organizer, used click-to-download ads on Google Search and the Google Display Network to promote their app to business travelers on the road. By creating and optimizing display ads within other apps, TripIt increased downloads by more than 75% and slashed cost-per-download by more than 96%. According to Rhonda Hanson, senior director of search marketing, promoting their app with mobile ads allowed TripIt to, “redirect the dollars we've saved on app promotion to improving our app and providing a better trip-organizer service to our business travelers.” Download the full case study here.

Maximizing ROI with Conversion Optimizer
Savvy advertisers also know they can take app promotion to the next level with optimization tools. Leading mobile game developer GREE promoted their apps to gamers using Google Search click-to-download ads along with image and text ads on the Google Display Network. To make sure they were getting the best return on investment for their in-app display ads, they used Conversion Optimizer for apps to reach their cost-per-download targets. This automated campaign optimization helped them improve app download rates by 150%, decrease cost-per-download by 52% and improve click-through rates by 49%. Download the full case study here.

If you haven’t already created your holiday app strategy, it’s not too late. Here are some things you can do to win across search and display:
  1. Make sure you’re reaching people when they search for apps like yours and help them easily download your app with click-to-download ads and mobile app extensions
  2. Reach relevant users within over 300,000 premium apps on the Google Display Network with image and text ads
  3. Track downloads on Android and iOS with AdWords conversion tracking and optimize ROI with the automated bidding feature, the Conversion Optimizer for apps
  4. Measure in-app user activity with Mobile App Analytics in order to optimize
  5. Increase app promotion campaign budgets for the holidays to account for additional ad clicks
For more on how you can drive cost-effective app downloads with Google AdWords, check out this recorded Learn with Google webinar.

Upcoming Improvements for Conversion Optimizer and Enhanced CPC Users

Using AdWords Conversion Optimizer or Enhanced CPC can help you get more conversions at lower cost, and reduce the time required to manually optimize your bids. When using either one, changing your ad rotation from “Optimize for clicks” to “Optimize for conversions” increases conversions by an average of 5%. That’s because “Optimize for conversions” shows your higher-converting ads more often.

To help you get better performance with AdWords, we’ll be linking these options more closely together in a series of changes that we plan to roll out during the week of November 12th, 2012.

What’s changing
  • New ad rotation default when using Conversion Optimizer or Enhanced CPC. When you first activate Conversion Optimizer or Enhanced CPC in a campaign, your ad rotation setting will change to “Optimize for conversions” by default. We recommend this setting to get the most conversions, but you’re free to change to a different option.
  • Eligible campaigns will switch to “Optimize for conversions.”As we announced last December, all campaigns using Conversion Optimizer or Enhanced CPC which are set to use “Optimize for clicks” will be switched to “Optimize for conversions.” You can opt out of this update via this form up until November 9th, but you may miss out on getting more conversions by doing so.

    Update: The migration of eligible Conversion Optimizer and Enhanced CPC campaigns will now occur during the week of 11/26.

  • “Rotate evenly” change for campaigns using Conversion Optimizer or Enhanced CPC. As we announced earlier this month, campaigns set to “Rotate evenly” automatically begin to optimize for clicks when ads in an ad group are unchanged for 90 days. Similarly, when using Conversion Optimizer or Enhanced CPC, campaigns set to “Rotate evenly” will automatically begin to optimize for conversions when ads in an ad group are unchanged after 90 days.
After these changes roll out, you’ll still have control over your ad rotation settings and can make changes at any time.

More information

To learn more about the Conversion Optimizer and Enhanced CPC, you can watch the following short videos. For more details on ad rotation, please visit the AdWords Help Center.

Conversion Optimizer

Enhanced CPC

Richard Petty Driving Experience puts Conversion Optimizer in High Gear, winning the Conversion Champion Challenge

Back in June, we announced the Conversion Champion Challenge, a contest to help motivate you to get your conversion rates in shape for summer. Many of you embraced the challenge - with increased profits to show for it! However, one advertiser stood out among the rest as the true Conversion Champion. We’re delighted to invite Elliott Antal from Richard Petty Driving Experience, to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, to spend a day with the Google Conversion team. Elliott told us a bit about his journey to the finish line:

“The Conversion Champion Challenge was the perfect opportunity [for Richard Petty Driving Experience] to try some new tools in regards to our paid search marketing.

Richard Petty Driving Experience is the world's largest provider of NASCAR ride and drive entertainment and the exclusive stock car experience at premiere tracks such as Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Walt Disney World Speedway. A conversion for Richard Petty Driving Experience is a completed e-commerce transaction. Customers have the opportunity to purchase a ride, drive, or merchandise through

On June 11, we activated the Conversion Optimizer for our primary search campaign. In the time after the activation we have seen our conversion rate increase by 10% and cost-per-acquisition drop 2%. We’ve also seen our clicks double, with average cost-per-click decreasing by 30%. Conversions are coming in at a healthy pace while maximizing the reach of our budget. Conversion Optimizer has most certainly made a positive impact on our account and performance is continuing to improve over time.”

Well done, Elliott! We look forward to meeting you in person and exploring more ways to boost your ROI.

To learn more the Conversion Optimizer, an automatic bidding tool for increasing your ROI, visit the Conversion Optimizer site.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew

Conversion Champion Challenge: Get those entries in!

In early June, we announced the Conversion Champion Challenge, a contest challenging you to use free AdWords conversion products to increase your ROI, then submit a mini-case study telling us about your experience. The grand prize winner will receive an AdWords voucher as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Google Mountain View or Google Zurich, where the Google Conversions team will meet with you to review your account and provide customized recommendations.

For those of you who took us up on the challenge, final entries are due tomorrow, July 31 and can be submitted here. So get those entries in soon!

Get your ROI in shape for the summer with these tips

A couple of weeks ago, we announced the Conversion Champion Challenge, a contest to help you get your ROI in shape for the summer using free AdWords conversion products. It’s not too late to enter and compete to win the grand prize – an AdWords voucher and a trip to Google!

Whether you’re just getting started or actively working to get your conversion rate in shape, here are some best practices for getting the most out of two key conversion products: Conversion Optimizer and Search Funnel reports.

Tips for using Conversion Optimizer
  • Save time by letting Conversion Optimizer manage your bids to reach your ROI goals (On average, campaigns that use Conversion Optimizer experience a 21% increase in conversions and a 14% decrease in cost-per-conversion )*.
  • Choose to bid using the metric that you’re most comfortable with: Target Cost per Acquisition (CPA) or Max CPA.
  • Set different CPA bids for each ad group if conversions in one are more valuable to you than they are in another.
  • Let Conversion Optimizer run for a couple weeks to give it a chance to acclimate to your campaign’s performance.
  • Test Conversion Optimizer on a single campaign if you’re not ready to make large scale changes to your account. If you ever choose to turn it off, you’ll be able to return to the Max CPC bids that you’d previously set.
  • Learn more and check out success stories from advertisers who’ve used Conversion Optimizer.

Tips for using Search Funnel Reports

  • Run Search Funnel Reports within your AdWords account to figure out which ads and keywords potential customers clicked on leading up to a conversion.
  • Identify keywords that are driving conversions and ensure that you’re bidding competitively on them.
  • Identify the keywords you're paying for but aren't leading to conversions and decrease your bids on them accordingly.
  • Use the Time Lag and Path Length reports to understand how long (time and number of searches) it takes before conversions typically happen on your site. This can help you determine how long to run your campaigns.
  • Learn more about Search Funnel Reports.

We can’t wait to hear about your experiences, so let us know how it goes by entering the Conversion Champion Challenge.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew

*This analysis compares the performance of Conversion Optimizer campaigns over the course of a year with a control set of campaigns and represents the average impact of Conversion Optimizer. The actual impact will vary from campaign to campaign.

Give your conversion rate a workout by taking the AdWords Conversion Champion Challenge!

Now that summer is here, people are thinking about how to get in shape as quickly as they can. Well, your conversion rate wants a beach bod too, and with a little work and some tools in your AdWords account, you can whip it into top form. It’s critical that your marketing efforts and website are in peak condition to attract valuable visitors and convert them into customers. Getting started is the hardest part, so to give you a push in the right direction, we’re launching the Conversion Champion Challenge.

The contest is simple:

1. Track conversions on your site using one of Google’s free measurement products:

2. Analyze and try to boost your performance using AdWords Search Funnels and/or Conversion Optimizer.
3. Show us the results and tell us your story here!

We’ll select the advertiser with the most interesting, innovative and unique case study for:
  • An inclusive trip (including flights, hotel & dinner for 2 people) to Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA, just outside San Francisco.
  • A meeting with the Google Conversion Team who will audit your Google Analytics implementation and give you a usability assessment of your website along with recommendations to further improve your conversion rate.
  • $500 in AdWords credit.
  • A post on the Inside AdWords Blog featuring your website and a big smiley photo of you with the Google team!
So what are you waiting for? Take the Conversion Champion Challenge today!

Entries are due by 31 July, 2010. If you’d like to learn a little more about Conversion Tracking, Conversion Optimizer and Search Funnels, attend the free webinar happening this week on Thursday, June 10. Register now or read more details here.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew

Next Thursday: free webinar on AdWords Conversion Products

With the recent launch of Search Funnels, we wanted to have a webinar showing off these new reports and offering you a refresher on AdWords Conversion Tracking and Conversion Optimizer. We'll give overviews of these features, showing how they work and how they can help you, and do a deep dive into the Search Funnels reports.

At the webinar, you’ll learn:
  • How tracking conversions can take you beyond clickthrough rate and help you focus your spend on the ads and keywords that drive sales and leads
  • How the data in Search Funnels can take you a step further and tell you which ads and keywords are assisting your conversions
  • How Conversion Optimizer can use your conversion tracking data and cost-per-acquisition goals to help you focus your spend on the clicks most likely to convert
We’ll hold the webinar next week, on Thursday, June 10th at 9am PDT / 11am CDT / 12pm EDT. Register here if you’d like to attend, and please submit or vote on questions related to Conversion Tracking, Conversion Optimizer or Search Funnels that you'd like answered during the webinar by Wednesday, June 9.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew