Find out how Google AdMob can help advertise your mobile applications and gauge the results.
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.
You see an ad that's entertaining or handy (such as one
which informs you about something useful).
You encounter an ad that's annoying or intrusive (hint:
stuff that pops up to interrupt you).
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.
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.
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
Note that as of November, 2013 Google is only allowing
registration for AdMob from the countries listed in Figure A.
Once you log in with your Google account, you'll need to
enter the following registration details. (Figure B)
Note that "Account Type" shows the entries "Not
sure," "Advertiser," "Publisher," and "Advertiser
& Publisher." (Figure C)
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
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:
To get started, click "Create New Ad Campaign."
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."
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
Pick the appropriate options then look at "Geography
/ Operators" underneath the segment shown in Figure H.
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
Now you can pick the demographics for your target
audience at the bottom of the page, shown in Figure I.
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.
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By Scott Matteson
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.