This blog post was originally published in 2015. You can read one of our newer posts on successful app install campaigns.
If you have a marketing budget, app install ads are a great way to boost your installs and reach out to new users and audiences. Facebook and Twitter install ads are pretty awesome at allowing you to narrow on your exact target audience and get your app in front of them on mobile. Here are a few tips for optimizing your ads:
Many times testing different messages, different audiences, and different images can really help you understand who your customers are and what they want. On facebook, the narrower the audience becomes, the more expensive the ad usually is, so make sure as you narrow your audience, you are actually increasing conversions. For example, while we were building Kindred Prints we found that young moms were a great customer. We tried adding different interests like “interested in photography” that narrowed our audience and increased the cost but didn’t increase our conversion. However when we tested ads to young moms vs ads targeted to young moms with children 0-3, we found the second group tended to perform a lot better in both clicks AND conversions. This meant that even though they cost a little bit more per install, the actual cost to turn them into a paying customer was less. So test, test, test!
Make ads relevant to your audience
This seems really intuitive, but sometimes it’s easier to just create creatives that you think work for everyone. When we ran ads at Kindred, we found that showing an specific ad relevant to the exact audience we were targeting really increased conversions. So for example, the ad we targeted towards moms had a photobook of a child on the cover vs. the ad to women in relationships had an ad of a photobook with a couple on the cover. This had a dramatic impact on install rates, despite being a relatively subtle change.
Use custom and look-alike audiences
One awesome thing about Facebook is the ability to create look-alike audiences from an existing group of users. This is done by first uploading the e-mail addresses or Facebook IDs of your customers, aka a Custom Audience. Facebook then takes your existing customers and creates a much larger audience of Facebook users with the same characteristics as your existing users, which they call a Look-alike Audience. This allows you to target a much larger pool of potential users that have similar traits to your best customers. For us, the look alike audience of our paying users was by far our best converting ad audience because we were able to target people who were similar to our top 10% of customers at Kindred.