Google

Use Google AdMob to promote your mobile applications

Find out how Google AdMob can help advertise your mobile applications and gauge the results.

1_google_admob.png
I've written about advertising in the past and how it can be used in a relevant and tasteful fashion. We live in a society inundated with ads, many of which completely escape our attention due to distractions, our conditioning, or other ongoing activities at the time. This means ads have to be the best they can be to score any chance with us.

I think it's safe to say that there are three scenarios where advertising has a measurable impact on our daily life.

  1. You see an ad that's entertaining or handy (such as one which informs you about something useful).
  2. You encounter an ad that's annoying or intrusive (hint: stuff that pops up to interrupt you).
  3. You work in advertising.

Even just a few short years ago I think only marketing people would have fit the third category. However, times have changed and many of us in IT, fiction writing, and other fields are also focused on advertising and how to do so in a meaningful manner.

Google AdMob

With that in mind, I've been reading up on Google AdMob, a mobile advertising service you can use to get the word out on your mobile applications. Google revamped AdMob this fall and their old version of AdMob has been shuttered, so this is a new environment with features such as better reporting, ad filtering, and a different payment system (for instance, earnings are paid out more quickly than in the old model and can include local currencies).

The Google Admob help page is a bit sparse if you're a newbie to the concept (frankly, their documentation seems geared towards people who already know what AdMob is, which is like taking French classes when you're already fluid in Le Français), so here are some of the basics I've learned.

What is AdMob?

Google states the new version of AdMob "is designed to help mobile app developers monetize and promote their apps. AdMob can help build your app business every step of the way." 

Basically, it's a service you sign up for, which does not cost money to join. You can then become an advertiser (advertise your apps) or a publisher (get paid to advertise for others). The scope of this article will focus on the advertiser concept.

As an advertiser, you create an ad campaign in AdMob which contains ad groups. Ad groups contain ads promoting your app (these can be in the Google Play or iTunes stores, for instance) to a target audience or region. You specify how much you want to spend each day on your advertising and how much you will pay every time someone clicks your ad. You build an ad which hopefully fits the description in #1 (entertaining or handy) above. Then you let it run. Your ads are displayed on the targeted mobile devices to the specified audience(s). If all goes well, your app gets downloaded and used more frequently and your business grows.

Why should I use AdMob?

AdMob lets you outsource your advertising so Google can handle it, leaving your time freed up for more relevant pursuits. Since it is designed for mobile devices it lets you direct your ads towards those platforms which can run your apps (Android, for instance) as well as the kinds of people you believe are most likely to do so. AdMob reports then provide insight into how your ads are doing so you can tweak your campaigns as needed, perhaps adding more money to fund an ad or terminating it if it hasn't met your needs.

What is a concrete example of using AdMob?

Let's say you've got a super-cool mobile app that can predict what song is going to come on the radio next and allow you to wow friends with your psychic abilities (look, I'm not a developer). You build the app, upload it to the Google Play or iTunes store then create a campaign and ad group to push your ad. You figure that it's best geared towards men and women between 18 and 24 so you select this demographic set as your desired audience. You create an enticing ad with an image showing a psychic with a crystal ball impressing several stunned onlookers. The image shows your site URL and can be clicked to access that location. You preview the ad then submit it to Google. Google reviews your ad and lets you know if it was approved. If so, it is released and you're on your way.


Also read: Getting the word out with AdWords by Google


How do I get started using AdMob?

You must be 18 or over to get an AdMob account. You'll need a Google account to sign into the AdMob site. If you are a Google AdSense account holder you can also use those credentials.

Note that as of November, 2013 Google is only allowing registration for AdMob from the countries listed in Figure A.

Figure A

a_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Once you log in with your Google account, you'll need to enter the following registration details. (Figure B)

Figure B

b_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Note that "Account Type" shows the entries "Not sure," "Advertiser," "Publisher," and "Advertiser & Publisher." (Figure C)

Figure C

c_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Choose "Advertiser." You can always change it later under your Account settings.

One caveat: when I signed up for an AdMob account I tried to specify my country. I live in the United States but this option was nowhere to be found on the list even after double and triple-checking it. I had to pick "United States Minor Outlying Islands" then go in and edit my Account settings to change it to "United States," which was available at a second glance.

Here is the main AdMob screen (Figure D) where you can work with Campaigns, Sites/Apps, look at reports on how your campaigns/ads are doing, and utilize tools such as "App Conversion Tracking" which allows you to see how many times your ads have prompted your apps to be downloaded. The "Campaigns" page appears as follows:

Figure D

d_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Before proceeding, I recommend you check out the AdMob content guidelines overview and the "Unacceptable content" page to make sure you're aware of the rules.

To get started, click "Create New Ad Campaign." (Figure E)

Figure E

e_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Enter your Campaign Name, when you want it to start/end, and your daily budget (you have to budget at least $10/day). You can include an optional note. (Figure F)

Click "Save and Continue."

Figure F

f_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Enter an Ad Group Name and select your Application platform (click "Application" if the above entries are not visible).

Click Continue. The top section of the next screen lets you set your Platforms/Devices (I chose Android for my Test Campaign). (Figure G)

Figure G

g_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Pick the appropriate options then look at "Geography / Operators" underneath the segment shown in Figure H.

Figure H

h_smatteson_ad_mob.png

You can leave the default of "Target all geographic locations" or pick the region you want your ads tailored for (language translation not included). When you select a region, you can also choose whether you want to "Target all traffic, including Wi-Fi traffic," "Target Wi-Fi traffic" only, or "Target mobile operator traffic."

According to Google, the "Exclude all proxy traffic" will "exclude all requests we identify as coming through proxy servers. Note that this may severely reduce the amount of traffic received for this ad group. This option is most commonly used to enable specific methods of carrier billing (MSISDN)."

Now you can pick the demographics for your target audience at the bottom of the page, shown in Figure I.

Figure I

i_smatteson_ad_mob.png

Here is where you can set your default bid, meaning how much you will pay each time someone clicks your ad.

Once you click "Save and Continue" you can proceed to create your ad. I opted against doing so in this instance because ads may vary across a wide spectrum, but you should have the gist of the procedure down by this point. It's just a matter of working with images and text; no fancy gotchas involved.

It's worth noting that creating ads is one thing; if you plan to advertise within your apps (which is where the "Publisher" concept starts to come in) you'll need the Google Mobile Ads Software Developer Kit (SDK) to do so.

That's the basic process involving AdMob, but there is much more information out there.

Where can I find out more?

Check out the AdMob help page for more information as a starting point. I highly recommend the Google+ Admob page and the Google Mobile Ads Blog, which contain dynamic day-to-day usage tips. Most interesting is the App Galaxy page which is both an educational and exciting way to plunge into the realm of mobile advertising.

Also read:

About

Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.

1 comments
Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Are you using Google AdMob in your organization? What do you think of it? Has it been successful for you?

Editor's Picks