Google AdWords Can Now Track iOS App Downloads

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Google announced today that marketers and advertisers promoting iOS applications can now monitor conversions – meaning app downloads – using Google’s AdWords. The news follows Google’s earlier move this April to offer a similar tracking option for Android applications.

With the added support for the iOS platform, businesses can track downloads of their Android or iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch applications from their AdWords campaigns as an AdWords conversion. Simply put, it means that when a user downloads a mobile app from either Google Play or the iTunes App Store after first clicking on an ad, that download can now be tracked.

However, there is a caveat: Google says that for iOS applications, it’s only able to track downloads driven by ads served within mobile apps – it can’t track iOS app downloads that originate from ad on Google Search or its Google Display network. That limits the level of insight Google can provide into the Apple ecosystem, but at least it’s a step in the right direction in terms of understanding which campaigns are most effective.

In order to implement iOS app download tracking, app marketers will have to set up a new conversion in their AdWords account, download and integrate an SDK into their mobile app, then paste a small line of code into the app to call the SDK. The code snippet is found in the same section of their AdWords account where publishers previously set up their Android app downloads. It’s a few more steps to get going – Android app marketers have been able to track their apps codelessly, Google notes, just by setting up a new conversion in their account.

Note that downloads can only be tracked when the ad points directly to the App Store (third-party URLs are not supported). Google is hosting a webinar here on YouTube which will have more on this topic.