Sociaro.AI & Netpeak case study: How to increase mobile app revenue using Google UAC optimization

Spoiler: this could have been an anti-case, but we were lucky with our customer, who has found a great mobile app promotion tool. 

How long we have been using the tool: since August 2021 until now
The service type: mobile app advertising
The promotion GEO: worldwide
Who took part in it: the customer team, NetpeakSociaro.AI.

The Project

We started to work with our client a year and a half ago. Our task was the promotion of the app designed for shopping from one of the largest marketplaces (the details can't be disclosed according to the NDA).

The Netpeak specialists have been increasing the number of installs and driving in-app user activity by promoting the app with Facebook and Google Ads.

Working with SEO and PPC channels always requires a lot of customer team involvement. It's great when they give advice from a business perspective. But it's even better when the customer helps you find a technical solution.

In our case, they told us about an option of separate management of the conversions that Google UAC receives via different channels.

The Challenge 

To promote our client's app, we were using Google Universal App Campaigns (UAC). The app's profitability was increasing month after month.

At the same time, we knew that the search engine traffic channel was more effective. But UAC does not provide an option to split the traffic channels and optimize the most effective ones.

The client wanted to find a way to split the traffic because the search engine channel performed way better than the media one. However, we couldn't just split them and decide which traffic channel we should redistribute our budget to. You can't control the share of channels within UAC campaigns—YouTube, Display, and Search are included by default and cannot be separated by the available Google tools.

Alexander Kut, Pre-Middle PPC Specialist, Netpeak

Search ads bring results faster than media or video. Of course, it all depends on the particular project and other inputs. But, according to statistics, the payback period for search ads is two weeks, while for media advertising, it can be more than two months.

The customer suggested that we use a third-party tool to split traffic channels and optimize only the one that brings the best results. Our specialists were not sure whether it was realistic or even legal.

How Sociaro.AI works

The customer introduced us to the Sociaro.AI team, and we found out that:

  • The company is a Premier Google Partner. This status guarantees that Google won't block our campaigns or the account itself.
  • The tool is based on machine learning. So, it takes enough time and data to deliver the results we need.
  • An agency of the same name designed Sociaro.AI to help mobile app owners solve their problems. Then, this service grew into a separate product.
  • There are three different formats of cooperation with Sociaro.AI. Our subscription plan was not the most expensive one.

But the main thing is that the Sociaro.AI team has found a way to manage Google Display Network, Search, and YouTube UAC channels separately.

How it works: we send our key conversions (app installs, in-app purchases, etc.) integrated into the analytics system to Sociaro.AI. Inside the service profile, we set up tracking of relevant actions from a specific channel. It can be video, search, or media advertising. Talking about this case, we needed to sort out only the search ads.

Alexander Kut

The service collects the data from AppsFlyer and other trackers, but it only sends the conversions generated by the search traffic to our ad account. Other conversions are weeded out.

In other words, Sociaro.AI works as both an analytical tool and a provider of custom conversions to advertising channels. The service allows you to influence ad networks' algorithms and flexibly optimize campaigns by processing raw data.

At one time, Google switched to full automation. But some clients still need custom solutions: add-ons, separations, etc.—and the company understands that it cannot provide solutions tailored to meet the needs of individual customers.

More than five years ago, some agencies realized that apps had a great future and put their efforts into narrow segments and areas. When I worked as a technical support specialist at Google in Warsaw, we cooperated with Sociaro.AI and noticed that this tool focused on apps from the get-go.

Alexander Surinov, Business Development Manager, Sociaro.AI

How we set up campaign optimization

This is what the service account looks like. You can see, it is quick and easy to integrate the account with the ad accounts and trackers you use.

You need a token to connect to your AppsFlyer account. To integrate ad accounts, you need access to your ad account and a linkID if you are using Google Ads.

By the way, all statistics are collected into one system. There's no need to retrain campaigns if you switch between the integrated trackers.

You can set up conversion tracking in three steps. Here is an example of setting up tracking for installs generated by traffic from the search engines.

Step one: select the event type and the traffic channel.

Step two: select user behavior trait. For example, you can pick only users who have installed the app and made a purchase within three days.

Important: The tool enables you to change existing user conversions. First, you can select two unique events within ten days. Then choose ten unique events within ten days. As a test, it is better to create two separate custom conversions to estimate their number. Then you can decide whether switching the CPA strategy to one of them is a good idea.

Step three: name the custom conversion and send it as a conversion or as an audience.

Important: you can quickly set up user cohorts for specific events in the dashboard/report settings.

And here is the result. The application profit has tripled after one month of working together with Sociaro.AI developers.

Our customer is now planning to enter new markets. The team is studying competitors in the USA and the UK and developing the application in Spain. They continue to collaborate with both our agency and the Sociaro.AI service.

More about the tool

One of the main advantages of Sociaro.AI is that it is a no-code service that does not require any special skills to set it up. Besides, you can choose from a variety of options for promoting apps and scaling campaigns with Sociaro.AI.

  1. Building cohort predictions. I.e., to predict the number of key actions/events that a specific group of users—a cohort—will perform within a certain period of time. Sociaro.AI enables you to set any target events and periods.

Why do you need it? The structure of the traffic you purchase is constantly changing. Both the proportion and quality of users from various GEOs acquired through different channels vary. Therefore, it is essential to analyze these changes in the early stages to adjust the campaigns and improve the performance.

Sociaro.AI cohort prediction groups people based on different characteristics: the app installation date, the network type, channels, GEOs. It allows you to see how many key events the cohort will perform and how much money it will bring.

The predictions are credible enough for further scaling. But of course, it all depends on the amount of data and the complexity of the campaign.

  1. Create custom conversions using a special builder. In this case, Sociaro.AI will send conversion data to the Google Ads account.

Unlike regular conversions, the custom ones allow you to pack multiple in-app events into a single event setting additional conditions. For example, you can add the number of events over a certain period, the time intervals between them, and their sequence.

By sending a custom conversion to Google UAC, the tool explains to algorithms what user behavior is valuable for a given project. It enables you to set a more accurate goal for user acquisition tailored to business requirements.

Thus, the traffic purchase can be optimized for a specific in-app user behavior pattern. For example, it can target users who have made a few purchases within seven days.

The same logic applies to ad monetization. Sociaro.AI’s custom conversions allow you to optimize campaigns for users who watch a certain number of ads over a given period of time.

One of the best uses of a conversion builder is to manage channels in Google Universal App Campaigns. The UAC model does not allow you to distribute your ad campaign budget across channels. This can be a severe problem for effective campaign scaling.

With the custom conversions, you can send to Google only the events acquired through effective channels and ignore the rest.

If Search converts users better than YouTube and Google Display Network, the service will help you significantly increase the share of Search. You can prioritize any traffic channels you want and minimize the proportion of the inefficient ones.

  1. User-level predictions. Here, Sociaro.AI uses scaling algorithms to calculate the likelihood that a particular user will perform the required event.

By using this tool, you can weed out users who will once pay for the installation and hardly ever perform the desired in-app actions. Such predictions help you solve the problem of insufficiency of data for the ad campaigns training.

This solution is best suited for clients with high turnover ($100,000 or more per month) since you need a large amount of data to train a model well.

You can also use user-level predictions if your app conversions are complex: e.g., ad monetization, subscription, and purchase options are available simultaneously.

Feedback on cooperation

Ekaterina Bukharova, Project Manager, Netpeak 

"As soon as I found out about the concept of Sociaro.AI, my first thoughts were whether it contradicts Google's policy: won't it happen that our account gets blocked? But on the very first meeting, the Sociaro.AI team explained that they are a Premier Google Partner, which means the tool is reliable and safe.

Our experience with this service has become a significant contribution to developing our customer's project by optimizing universal app campaigns (UAC.) It is also worth mentioning that the Sociaro.AI team has become our irreplaceable assistants. Guys were always in touch and ready to help us implement our ambitious goals.

I should note that the service enables users to deal with each type of UAC campaign separately (search, media advertising, video.) It means that not only the search traffic channel but also other channels can provide growth points.

There is still much work to be done, and we expect the team to stay in the groove."

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