How We Increased Android App Installs By 5% In 6 Weeks

By JD Prater | @JDPrater | Head of Social Media at Hanapin Marketing

One of the biggest challenges for direct response marketers is meeting conversion volume while staying below the target CPA. Typically, those are two different metrics that we all strive to hit with our campaigns.


It can be even more difficult on mature campaigns that are well optimized. With these types of campaigns, you’re really looking for those marginal gains to improve performance and impress the client.


Below is a case study that discusses how we gained a 5% increase in Android app installs just by changing a default language setting. This tactic might be the marginal gain you’re looking for!


The Objective – Increase Android App Installs


Hanapin is working with a company to boost their mobile app installs on Android and iOS operating systems using Google AdWords. For this case study, we will specifically focus on Android app install campaigns and how we found a creative solution to increase app installs while staying under the target CPI (cost per install).




Challenges – Targeting and Platform Limitations


The client came to us in July and gave us a few limitations to work within when setting up our campaigns.


  • Location – We could only target people in the US.
  • Network – Only target searchers using Google’s Search Network. We couldn’t utilize other platforms or networks.
  • Device – Exclude tablets from seeing our ads.


Not being able to use every tool and targeting limitations is always difficult at the onset when trying to hit client goals.


Our Strategy – All Language Targeting Campaigns


After a few months of continued growth, we reached the maximum install volume based upon their CPI goal. Meaning, we couldn’t gain more impression share unless we were willing to raise our CPI goal. Therefore, we needed innovative ways to increase conversion volume while staying under their target CPI.


Our campaigns were all set to target English language searches on browsers set to English. However, what happens when someone has their browser language set to Spanish, and searches in English?


Google provides this example for targeting all languages:


By targeting all languages, you can reach people who speak more than one language and may search in several languages. Let’s say someone speaks English and Spanish but set their Google interface language setting to Spanish. It’s possible that person may also search for something in English, like “buy shoes online.” If you have a campaign with these English keywords targeting the English language, that person wouldn’t see your ad. That’s why targeting all languages can help you reach more potential customers.”


So the way our campaigns were set up, our ads would not show causing us to lose out on potential users looking for the app. Taking this factor into consideration, we decided to duplicate our current campaigns, and only change the language targeting to target all languages except English.


This way the campaigns wouldn’t compete, and allow us to increase conversion volume by finding new traffic. To be clear, we did not translate our ads or our keywords. We’re targeting English search queries on browsers set up in a different language.


The Results – 5% Increase In Android Installs


Over the last 6 weeks, we started creating all language targeting campaigns for Android and rolling them out slowly to test performance. The results are impressive! It’s amazing how this little change resulted in a 5% conversion lift and a 30% cheaper CPI.


Here’s a full breakdown of the Android campaign results over the last 6 weeks.


Last 6 Weeks


Below is a chart detailing the aggregate totals for the “English only” vs “all languages” campaigns. We can see the all languages campaigns added an extra 7,718 installs and a much cheaper CPI.


Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 3.38.18 PM


When comparing the three “English only” campaigns to their “all languages” counterparts we can see the search volume opportunity that wasn’t capitalized on with English only campaigns.


By adding all languages campaigns, we earned 6.4% more clicks , 6.3% more impressions and 5% more conversions at a 19.5% cheaper CPI. These are identical campaigns just with different languages targeted. 


Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 4.05.31 PM


The only metric that lagged behind was conversion rate. Conversion rate actually dropped 16.5% on the all languages campaigns even though CTR improved by 2.6%. Again, these are marginal gains, but gains are gains!


Final Thoughts


After a few weeks into the campaigns, our client is liking the results and insights. You may be wondering why this is working so well.


Here are a few thoughts.


  1. Company – They have a well-known and recognizable brand.
  2. Demand – There’s a lot search volume for this app category
  3. Searchers – People tend to search for this app in English
  4. Mature Campaigns – We duplicated well-optimized campaigns thus reducing the drag in extra maintenance.


Before you run off and testing this tactic, ask yourself a few questions before implementing.


  1. Will This Work For You? – My answer is maybe. It truly depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Understanding your audience is key for getting the most out of this tactic. Then think about your industry vertical and goals.
  2. Are Your Looking For Marginal Gains – A 5% increase in install volume is definitely worth your attention. If you have some mature campaigns and are looking for a new way to eek a few more conversions. Don’t expect this to be a silver bullet solution. In most cases, all language targeting in US will only results in marginal gains.
  3. Do I Have To Duplicate Campaigns? – No. You can’t segment AdWords campaigns by language targeting. That’s why we duplicated our campaigns so we could easily compare the results of English vs all languages targeting. This allowed us to provide strategic insights and recommendations to the client about their audience and search volume.


Over to you. Have you tried targeting all languages or other languages on your campaigns? What kind of results did you see? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!