Android Developers Get A Bunch Of Tools For Promoting, Measuring & Monetizing Apps

Chris CrumDeveloper & Design

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Google made a plethora of announcements at Google I/O on Thursday. These include a bunch of new things to help mobile app developers better measure, promote and monetize their apps. Let's run through these.

First off, Google announced that it has built partnerships with over 20 ad networks including InMobi and Millennial Media since launching iOS conversion tracking late last year. Data integration with all of these has led to what Google calls a comprehensive view of app value across networks. Soon, you'll be able to "postback" conversions to referring networks in order to optimize traffic via one SDK.

Google also announced the ability to integrate app install and event data from key third party measurement partners into AdWords. It's working with third parties like Adjust, Appsflyer, Apsalar, Kochava, and Tune, and has increased measurement accuracy between different trackers in AdWords.

The company also announced Universal App Campaigns, which is a new campaign type that lets advertisers reach people across Google Search, the AdMob network, mobile sites, YouTube, and Google Play and setting up install ads from AdWords or the Google Play Developer Console.

"Just provide us with a few inputs about your app — what your ad creative will say, the audience you wish to reach, and how much you want to spend — we’ll do the rest for you," says Jonathan Alferness, Vice President, Product Management. " "Behind the scenes, our ad creation and bidding engines will help maximize performance for your campaigns so you can spend more time building and enhancing your apps. Search Ads on Google Play and Universal App Campaigns will be rolled out to developers and advertisers in the coming months."

Google recently launched an Audience Builder Tool for AdMob, which is powered by Google Analytics. At Google I/O, it announced a new feature that lets you define a list of users and show ads to them while hiding ads from the rest of your users. This lets you show ads to casual users, but hide them from more engaged users, though that's just one scenario.

It also announced that its mediation tool now supports 40 partners with 15 networks added in the past year. The newest partner is Tencent GDT.

Also new is AdMob Reservations, which aims to support app sales teams, who can take ad campaign bookings from advertisers they work with directly, upload creatives, and manage the delivery of campaigns for free.

In the coming months, AdMob will introduce Native Ads Express, which lets you take advantage of native ads without any custom engineering on your part.

"We know there are many developers who don’t have the resource to design a custom native ad that matches their app, but still want the flexibility that native ads offer," says Alferness. "With this feature you can simply define the style of your ad using CSS, and AdMob serves the ad adhering to your specs. You can update the ad’s appearance on the fly by adjusting the CSS, so there’s no need to change your app’s native code when you want to test a different look. We have ads from millions of advertisers that can be styled in the way you want."

AdMob is also being integrated into Android Studio so you can create AdMob ad units as you build your app.

Back to the Developer Console. There, you'll soon be able to get new insights like how many users visit your Store listing, install your app, and make purchases.

Play Store also now supports A/B testing for Store listings. You'll be able to run experiments with different versions of text and graphics to see what works best. You'll also be able to test your app automatically on real devices with Cloud Test Lab, which is being integrated with Developer Console. That's coming in a pilot, which will be rolling out gradually.

"For each APK you upload to an alpha or beta channel, Google Play will execute fully automated testing of your app against physical devices matching your app targeting criteria and output a report with a detailed analysis of issues, including screenshots and logs," explains product manager Ellie Powers. "Google Cloud Test Lab will roll out to all developers later this year; you can sign-up to become a tester in the Developer Console now."

Developers are also getting the ability to create their own unique homepages on Google Play to promote their entire app catalogs. You can upload graphics, explain your company, and feature specific apps.

There's also a new search results experience aimed at helping guide users with broad interests:

For games, Google will be adding new reports, player segments, game metrics, and event types to Player Analytics in the coming months.

Finally, Google is adding a way for users to more easily find content in its various categories that is family-friendly. Users will see a star with a smiley face on it where they can get curated family-friendly picks.

Images via Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.