For many mobile app marketers, Facebook offers the highest volume and quality source of advertising traffic through Mobile App Install Ads. Fully capitalizing on the potential of the Facebook platform requires heavy testing and, more importantly, continually adapting to changes in Facebook’s advertising strategies and algorithms.
Over the past few years, Facebook has ramped up the frequency of advertising product changes, and top mobile Mobile App Install Advertisers have followed suit by ramping up the frequency of strategy changes. Looking back historically, the strategy we deploy today is very different than the strategy we deployed six months ago. Interestingly, this statement would hold true for any backward-looking period of time over the past five years. Put simply, our strategy is always changing to keep up with best practices for Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads.
If you want more app installs, Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads are the way to go. Especially now that Facebook has given user acquisition managers more tools to target their ideal users. Here is a detailed account of the key features and best practices:
How Facebook Mobile App Install Ads Work
Mobile app install ads allow users to install your app directly from your ad. Based on where your ad appears, any original content may be added to, dropped, or modified during the ad serving process. Facebook Ads does this to help make sure that users get a great experience from your ad, no matter when and where they see it.
Auto Advanced Matching
User acquisition managers heavily rely on the ability to track their campaigns. They must track every click, know where every sale comes from and set a value for each action. And while today’s advertisers have better tracking tools than their predecessors could ever dream of, tracking is still an imperfect science.
Auto Advanced Matching makes it much more accurate. Once you’ve turned Auto Advanced Matching on, Facebook can use data you’ve collected on your website (like email addresses) to find lookalike audiences across their user base.
Additionally, Auto Advanced Matching adds more data parameters to each action, and each person tracked, so tracking is far more accurate than other solutions. This helps you manage your campaigns better and usually results in a significantly better return on advertising spend (ROAS) because you can more accurately pinpoint where your results are coming from.
Facebook’s simplified campaign structure is a template for how to scale your Facebook advertising quickly and seamlessly.
The real benefit of a simplified campaign structure is that Facebook’s advertising algorithm can manage all the tests and settings you used to manage with dozens (maybe even hundreds) of ad sets. Let the algorithm handle all that complexity. You just tell it the results you want, and let it run.
Advertisers may be hesitant to let go of all your carefully constructed campaigns and Ad Sets, but given the changes Facebook has made to its algorithm, testing has shown that it’s more effective to just hand this optimization work over to the AI. With the simplified campaign structure, campaigns also get put into the “Learning Phase” less often, which saves a lot of ad spend. And campaigns become more likely to hit their target CPA goals.
Want to learn more about Facebook’s Simplified Campaign Structure? See our blog post, “Facebook Ads Keep Evolving. See Facebook’s NEW Simplified Campaign Structure Recommendations!”
Campaign Budget Optimization
Campaign Budget Optimization is a best practice now, but in September 2019, it becomes mandatory. Facebook will switch most campaigns over to CBO as of September 1, 2019. If you’re not using one of their API tools (like our AdRules tool), your campaigns will automatically be shifted over to CBO. And any new campaigns you create will use CBO, too.
Fortunately, once you know how to use it, CBO is great. You just need to pick smart goals, give it enough creative elements to do its thing, and get used to having a few hours of free time every week.
Learn more about Campaign Budget Optimization in our blog post, What Marketers Need to Know About Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization.
Smart advertisers know the right placement can make the difference between success and failure in a campaign. So they test placements every chance they can get.
There are 14 possible placements across Facebook’s current ad inventory. Testing all those placements takes a lot of time and can result in spending through a lot of ad budget unless you’ve got a world-class advertising algorithm to do it all for you in the background.
Which is exactly what automatic placements can do. So not only do you have less work to do, but you’ll also get better results.
Relevancy is one of the power laws of advertising. Relevant ads – ads that are aligned with consumers’ interests – will always outperform irrelevant ads.
Facebook’s Dynamic Ads leverage that relevancy power law. They let you show ads that feature whatever products people have looked at on your website or in your app.
To use Dynamic Ads, upload your product catalog and set up a Dynamic Ads campaign. After that initial setup, your ads will continue to run without any intervention. Any time someone has been on your website or in your app and looked at products there, the Dynamic Ads campaign will automatically show ads that feature those specific products to that specific visitor. You can manage any pricing, availability, or product updates for your ads by updating your product catalog.
According to Facebook, Dynamic Ads have increased click-through rates by 280% and reduced CPAs by up to 60% for some advertisers. So this is definitely worth a test.
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How to Optimize Facebook Mobile App Install Ads
Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads do take some campaign management tasks away from user acquisition managers. But that hardly means you’ll have nothing to do.
Here’s a list of best practices for optimizing Mobile App Install Ads, based on what’s working now for our clients.
For a more in-depth review of Facebook Mobile App Install Ad best practices, see our Facebook Mobile App Install Ads Best Practices Guide [Updated for May 2019].
CPA & CPI
- Use target CPA (tCPA). If you haven’t tested this bidding strategy yet, start now. We’ve found it to be a very efficient use of ad budget.
- Use target return on ad spend (tROAS). This feature isn’t out just yet, but it will be available in June for Mobile App Install Ads on iOS and Android. Once it’s live, you’ll be able to, say, specify that you want Facebook to find users who will spend three times what it cost you to acquire them. What advertiser wouldn’t want to do that?
- Set your daily budget caps at least 50X target of CPI or 10X of target CPA.
- Don’t change target CPI/CPA bids more than 20% in 24 hours until your campaign is generating 20-30 targeted in-app events per day.
- Target CPI campaigns’ bids should start at least $4-5, even if your CPI goal is lower.
- Target CPA campaigns’ bids should start at least 20-30% higher than the goal.
- Don’t wait until your app has launched to start building your user base: Pre-launch campaigns are available, and they work.
- Be generous with creative assets. Facebook Mobile App Install Ads work best with a variety of creative – creative formats and messaging approaches. The algorithm will figure out how to mix and match your images, text, and videos… but you’ve got to give it enough assets to find the ideal combination.
- Always include video creative. We’ve found that if a campaign hasn’t been using videos, adding just two videos to their creative asset mix can increase the campaign’s conversions by 25%. So yes, maybe videos are a bit more expensive. Maybe they do take a bit longer to create. But they punch above their weight when it comes to ROAS. And besides – if you don’t want to make videos, we can do it for you.
- When you get your videos made, make sure they can “flex”. For example, make sure they can appear in different views and devices and still look good.
- Think beyond user acquisition. We’re seeing some really nice returns with retention campaigns. If you do it right, it pays to advertise to all those people who downloaded your app but then either didn’t use it or never bought from it. They have already done the hard part of installing the app. However, they often only need a little nudge to activate or to make their first purchase.
Facebook Mobile App Install Ads Conclusion
Facebook Mobile App Install Ads are one of the best tools a user acquisition manager has for growing a user base and monetizing it. If you aren’t squeezing every drop of opportunity out of Mobile App Install Ads, it’s time to up your game.
Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.