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10 Ways to Get More From Mobile App Install Ads

Published: May 20, 2013

Author: Joey Muller

A recent post by Todd Herrold laid out a nice guide for getting started with Facebook’s mobile app install ads. In today’s post, we will look at 10 ways to get more performance from these hot little ad units.
Many of these tips speak to the creative itself, specifically the image you pair with your message. Facebook is largely a platform for sharing and viewing photos, so it makes sense to spend time designing effective images for your ads.
1. One ad per campaign. This is Facebook 101, really, but it never hurts to hear a reminder. Facebook’s ad rotation algorithm takes more liberties than you probably want, leaving you with high-CTR ads that may convert poorly. A better solution is to create one ad per campaign and use conversions as your measuring stick. (Facebook cannot “favor” one ad over another if the ads are in separate campaigns.)
2. One device per ad (per campaign). Piggybacking on #1, if we are targeting Android and iPhone users, it is best to test devices individually rather than mix devices together. After all, Android vs. iPhone performance will vary. So, for each device we would want a separate ad and, thus, a separate campaign.
The screenshot below shows how easy it can be to create multiple campaigns in a single click. In this case, I am using Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer platform Optimal. Come to think of it, I would not want to get so granular without a platform!
ad platform optimal
3. Target broadly. Don’t target too narrowly when starting out with mobile install ads. It is best to drive installs at scale, which means at least 500,000+ people per ad.
4. Target Wi-Fi when necessary. If your app is over 50mb in size, your customer will only be able to download it over Wi-Fi. Sure, they can use your app anytime once it has been installed, but they won’t be able to install it unless they’re on Wi-Fi. Why waste clicks on folks who can’t install your app in the first place?
5. 600×360 is BIG for banner ads – use it. In the word of banners, Facebook’s mobile app install ad unit is rather large at 600×360 px. Take advantage of this and strut your creative stuff. Remember, these ad units will appear on your mobile newsfeed right where photos of people are your main competition! The slick Instagram filters work great for grabbing attention, and Path also has nice filters (as does Photoshop, of course).
6. Use “phone in hand” images. We are selling mobile apps, so when possible use an image of a mobile device with your app’s screenshot on it. You may need to add the screenshot later as a layer in Photoshop – again, be creative. 😉
facebook mobile app ad
7. Use people. Attractive ones. Face it, real people always help to sell a concept or product. If you’re going after women age 23-35, design your creative for them. You don’t have to use an expensive photographer; just do your best to capture an emotion with the people in your images. The image below came from Veer and cost me just 2 credits.
ideal image mobile app
8. Place text in your image. Facebook has a rule about this: no more than 20% of an image may be comprised of text. Use text to your advantage and overlay a call to action or a brand name or a tagline. You may not want to say “Download now” because Facebook incorporates “Install now” at the bottom of the ad unit. Having said that, my screenshot below is an example of some text (“Free App Download”) that reiterates the action. Effective? You can be the judge.
example of mobile app ad
9. Refresh creative. To stay relevant with your target audience, it is best to refresh your creative (image + text) every 2 weeks.
10. Use oCPM. Things are changing rather quickly in the land of Facebook advertising, and at the time of this writing the default setting for mobile app install optimization is to get the most installs possible given your targeting.
For most advertisers, this will be enough, but for those of us who need more flexibility and prefer to use a management platform, there are more available options. For example, you can assign relative values across 4 possible outcomes – actions, clicks, impressions, and reach – where all values add up to 100%. Below is another screenshot from Optimal.
Have you tested any of these suggestions in your mobile app install ads? Maybe you have a few tricks of your own to share? Drop a note – we’d love to hear from you.

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