Google Rolls Out New Tools to Drive Mobile App Installs

Enticing gamers with video promos and more

App-install ads continue to be a lucrative business for Facebook and Twitter, and now Google wants a bigger piece of the market.

Today Google is rolling out two new tools aimed at making it easier for marketers to plug mobile apps.

The first change is that advertisers can extend AdMob (Google's mobile app network that serves the ads for 650,000 apps) to the Google Display Network. The Google Display Network powers mobile sites and apps for 2 million publishers such as The New York Times and weather.com. The move will give advertisers a boost at getting their ads seen.

According to Google, advertisers that have already tested mobile-app-install ads on the Google Display Network increased their installations by about 28 percent, compared to when they only used AdMob.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is also rolling out video ads that marketers can use to plug their apps. The full-screen ads pop up with a small piece of copy describing it and the app's rating in Google Play or Apple's App Store. Clicking through on an ad then automatically directs people to stores where they can download the app.

In a blog post released this morning, Gree International—a mobile game developer for titles like War of Nations and Knights & Dragons—claimed some initial success from the video promos. The game developer said Google's video promos increased app downloads by 10 percent while reducing the cost-per-install price by 40 percent. Those numbers are based on the company's own data from other types of ads it has run.

Google's new formats are in part a way to keep up with the social networks that have traditionally driven the mobile-app-install market. Last year, Facebook rolled out video ads that let viewers download apps. Twitter and Tumblr offer similar ads, and Pinterest recently started pushing mobile app installs.

EMarketer forecasts that mobile-app-install ads will bring in $3 billion in U.S. revenue this year, representing 10.4 percent of $28.72 billion in total mobile spending. According to the research firm, mobile-app-install ads will represent 20 percent of the U.S. mobile display market this year.