Google App Campaigns Now in Live Search

Carmen Longoby
Former Junior Product Manager at AppTweak

5 min read

Live Search on the app stores is a must-have feature for anyone doing ASO. Over the past years we have been updating and upgrading our Live Search to bring it as close as possible to the real phone experience. Among our latest improvements we have started showing ads in the Android search results.

In this article we will take a step back to analyse and understand how Google displays your App Campaigns on the Play Store.

What are App Campaigns?

Unlike most Google Ads campaigns, App Campaigns takes care of the whole process for you in order to easily promote your apps across Google’s advertising network. You just need to add some text and assets, set your bid and budget and define your campaign goals. Google will streamline the rest of the process for you by pulling most content from your store listing.

Google App Campaigns - AppTweak ASO toolThe ads will be placed across various platforms to help your users find you. Those platforms include Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network.

Once the user will click on any of those ads, he will be redirected to your store listing in order to download the app. This means that before launching any campaign you should make sure that your store listing is optimized to convert your audience.

App Campaigns is compatible with both iOS and Android apps. Naturally for iOS apps, Google won’t place ads in the Play Store therefore we recommend running Apple Search Ads campaigns on top.

What ad formats can you find on the Play Store?

The mobile application market is saturated and competition on the Play Store is fierce. WithApp Campaigns you can make your app stand out from the crowd by showing up at the top of the search results, while exploring apps on the store and more…

Google App Campaigns - AppTweak ASO tool

Google Play homepage

As soon as the user arrives on the Play Store, Google will show him some ads on the homepage “For You”. These ads always have the title “Suggested for you” but can have two different formats :

Ads It can be a carousel of app icons (left screenshot) or feature graphics (right screenshot). Naturally the feature graphic grabs the users’ attention more as it is bigger.

You can also find ads on the store listing of an app. When you scroll down on the page to view the “Similar Apps” you will also see another section called “Related to this app” (screenshot below).


Unless a very big app is pointing to you, being placed in this group drives limited traffic to your app since few users actually scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Google Play search results

For most apps, search is the main source of downloads on the store. The conversion is naturally higher when there is an intention from the user to download a certain type of app. Thanks to App Campaigns your app can be propelled at the top of the results page.

Ad formats will vary from one search to another, depending on the relevancy of the keyword and whether the term is branded or not.

Generic terms

When the user searches for a generic keyword, he can see three different ad formats :

App Campaigns Search - AppTweak ASO ToolThe ad on the left screenshot is the best one because it gives the app the equivalent of four “normal” slots. In other words, the app gets even more visibility than the four first organic results. The screenshots and other assets will take up most of the screen and encourage users to convert without even looking at the store listing.

In the second Live Search, we found two smaller ads. This format really blends in with the organic results but it doesn’t get as much visibility as the first one. Besides, if your app already appears in the first screen as an organic result, you will double your chances to convert the user.

In the third screenshot, you can see that some apps were promoted under “Related to your search”. Compared to the other ads this one doesn’t get much traffic since the group only appears after the 8-10th organic result which means that the user needs to scroll several times before he can view this screen. Also, instead of having one full slot, the app appears in a carousel which has less weight.

Branded terms

Branded keywords can sometimes have ads but it’s not always the case.

As you can see in the first screenshot below, Google associates some keywords with brands in order to give more weight to some organic results. Instead of just showing a list of app names and icons, Google will show the app’s screenshots and other assets directly in the results page. This display will give a lot more visibility to the main app but it also gives the opportunity for competitors to rank organically in the groups “You might also like” and “Similar apps”.

App Campaigns Search - AppTweak ASO ToolHowever if your app didn’t have the chance to appear in one of those organic groups, App Campaigns will give it an extra boost by showing the app in the group “Related to your search” (second screenshot).

To conclude, App Campaigns is a great way to promote your app because it will subtly place your ads everywhere on the Play Store to get your app in front of the right audience. The Live Search display will be very different depending on the keyword and different ads will be shown to match the user needs.

Hope you enjoyed this article and learned some new insights about Google App Campaigns. If you’re curious to know what are the keywords where Google is placing your app and what your ads look like, discover Ad Intelligence > Paid Keywords and click on Live Search!

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Carmen Longo
by , Former Junior Product Manager at AppTweak
Carmen is a former Senior Product Manager at AppTweak. Her expertise in ASO helps her to continuously improve and build disruptive features. Like most “Apptweakers”, her life revolves around food.