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Drive Sustained Value with Facebook Mobile App Install Ads

Published: May 1, 2014

Author: Eric Duchek

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A client of ours recently approached us about testing a freemium pricing structure for one of their paid strategy games. They wanted to see first if the app could survive as a free app and if they would be able to find and retain the right customers to achieve their ROI goals. Facebook was the most obvious choice for this test because a) the process of A/B testing was fast and simple, and b) Facebook’s targeting abilities are amazing.


1. learn how different targets reacted to the change in pricing
2. test quickly


The app was switched from $2.99 to free to download for the duration of this test. We decided to target only Canadian iOS users over a 3-day period in early April. We used oCPM bidding and were optimizing to the install, then were able to create LTV data after the test was completed. We split targeting into 3 test groups:
1. broad countrywide targeting
2. gamers and fans of similar games
3. fans of the brand this app was associated with


It became clear on day one that the “fans of our branded content” group was by far the best-performing group. It was also the smallest of the groups, which explains why the ads reached fatigue relatively quickly. Of the 50+ campaigns we created to test copy and creatives, winners began to emerge after day one and we reallocated budget to the best performers. The performance numbers were as follows:
We were pleased with these numbers as was the client; the numbers far exceeded their expectations during launch. As the post-install data came in over the next few weeks, it also became clear that the “fans of our brand” group also monetized best.
Another interesting point we noticed: once we switched back to a paid app and ceased advertising, we actually saw the download rates sustain at a higher place than before we pushed the free app. These customers also had higher engagement rates than pre-push customers, which was a nice bonus to the customers we were able to acquire with the campaign.
Have you seen similar sustain with other boost campaigns?

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