3 Keys to Success with Facebook App Install Ads

So you’ve spent a lot of time and money creating an app, and now you need to find a way to generate users. Facebook app install ads is one of the best ways to do just that.

Generating app installs is not easy. There are over 2 million apps available in the Apple App Store, and with all that competition your Facebook campaigns need to be dialed in to achieve great results.

I’ve run a number of app install campaigns on Facebook. And I’ve generated app installs for as little as $1.50 each in expensive markets such as the UK and US.

To get to that point, I went through a lot of trial and error and here are my 3 keys to success…

#1 Use the App Installs Objective

This first tip sounds a bit obvious, but I have seen app owners make this mistake more than once.

When you’re looking to generate app installs with Facebook, it’s best to use the App Installs objective.

App Installs Facebook ad objectives

With the app installs objective, you can send people directly to the relevant app installation location – App Store, Google Play, etc. And that is a big deal.

Whenever you’re advertising online it’s important to make the process as easy as possible for your prospects. Sending Facebook traffic directly to the App Stores makes it easier for people to install your app and you’ll generate a lower cost per app install as a result.

I have seen app owners use the Traffic objective and send potential app users to their website.

Whilst you can provide a lot of information about your app on your website, I would recommend that you don’t do this. The extra step prospects need to take, will negatively impact the effectiveness of your campaigns.

I have also seen app owners use the Video Views objective when using a video ad to promote their app. I can understand the thought process here, but again I would not recommend it.

Selecting a Facebook objective instructs Facebook to optimize your campaign for that objective. You want Facebook to optimize your campaign for app installs, so you should use that objective no matter the ad format.

#2 Target Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike audiences often outperform other cold audience targeting options, but this is especially true with app install ads.

As you can see here, I was able to reduce the cost per app install from £3.67 to just £1.04 by targeting a lookalike audience:

Facebook mobile app installs stats

This makes sense.

A lookalike audience based off existing app users will contain people that are very similar to your existing app users. And these people are highly likely to be interested in your app.

Within your Facebook ad account you should create a custom audience that includes all app users. Here’s a detailed article that shows you how to do that.

Once that custom audience has more than 100 people in it, you can use it to create a lookalike audience.

I would strongly recommend that you implement this technique as soon as possible. Targeting lookalikes is a game changer for Facebook app install ads.

#3 Video Ads Outperform Image Ads

Video ads outperform image ads across most of the ad formats on Facebook. And this is the case with Facebook app install ads as well.

I’m a big fan of Facebook video ads because they are much more engaging and much more likely to grab your target audience’s attention.

You’re also able to provide a lot of information in a short period of time without your prospects having to leave Facebook.

This means you can quickly and easily explain what your app does, how it works and why people might want to install it.

It’s much easier to get that message across in a 60 or 90 second video, than convincing people to read the equivalent in ad copy.

Using short app demonstration video ads performs particularly well. Prospects are more likely to pay to attention to an app installs ad, and then install the app, if they are presented with a well crafted demo video.

Obviously these app demonstration videos aren’t easy to create and they can be costly.

But if you can make it work, you’ll most likely have a serious advantage over your competition.

Bonus: #4 Target Friends of People Who Use Your App

I’ve already covered the most effective targeting option for Facebook app install ads in this article, but I wanted to include this bonus tip as well.

Targeting the Friends of People Who Use Your App can be a great option for app install ads.

This targeting option probably won’t generate a lower cost per app install than a lookalike audience based off app users. But it can help increase engagement.

Generating app installs is sometimes only half the battle when it comes to successfully promoting your app.

You may also need to encourage people to use the app once they have installed it.

Most people are more likely to use an app that their friends are also using. Particularly if your app has a social element.

You target Friends of People Who Use Your App by navigating to the ad set level of your Facebook ad campaign and scrolling down to the Connections section.

There you can select Friends of People Who Use Your App from the drop down menu:

friends of people who use your app

Your Turn

What has your experience with Facebook app install ads been? What keys to success did you find, that aren’t listed here?

Let us know in the comments section.