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What is an App Install Ad?

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What is an App Install Ad?

The massive growth in mobile app usage has generated competition in the marketplace. Today, the Google Play Store contains 2.1 million apps and the Apple App Store comes in second with 1.8 million. In a highly competitive fight for relevance, you need more than useful, streamlined design: you need a way to market and acquire users for your mobile app. You need an app install ad.

App install ads are a highly effective means of bolstering app store optimization (ASO) – that is, improving your app’s visibility in the app stores. Simply put, App Install Ads link your app’s listing on Google Play or the Apple App store directly from your campaigns on platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, YouTube, and other display networks.

These ads help drive installs, which factor heavily into ASO. Because consumer demand is so high, app install campaigns have been described as a “must” by many in the industry. They’re an increasingly vital element of app marketing.


How App Install Ads Work

App install ads allow users to install your app directly from your ad. They’re designed to drive installs directly to your mobile app.

They appear in places such as Facebook newsfeeds and redirect users to your app in the app stores. These campaigns drive installs during a short period of time, increasing the app’s ranking in app stores. In addition, they also bolster organic traffic. As a result, campaigns using app install ads typically lead to more downloads and exposure.

Here’s how it works: You begin by creating an ad and posting it on a particular platform such as Facebook App Install Ads, or Google App Campaigns. From there, you can track click-throughs, which are recorded using identifiers, such as IDFA for iOS devices and AAID for Android devices. This enables marketers and developers to track activity – and other key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure performance.

App Install Ad Platforms

There are many app install ad platforms. Some of the most popular ad platforms for running app install ads include:

  • Facebook App Install Ads: Facebook has such a massive user profile database – just shy of 2.2 billion people use Facebook every month – it’s highly useful for its targeting capabilities. You can target users by demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  • Google App Campaigns: Part of Google’s AdWords platform, Google App Campaigns enables marketers to drive app installs across its biggest properties, including YouTube and Google Play. Its ad composition tool generates ads by lifting the app’s graphics and text from its description in the Google Play store.
  • Twitter App Install Ads: Twitter has advanced targeting capabilities and a large user base – though its size pales in comparison to Facebook. Twitter offers re-targeting capabilities that enable you to reach out to users who have previously visited certain websites or installed certain apps.
  • Snapchat Ads: Millennials love to use Snapchat, so if you’re striving to make a dent in this demographic, you might opt for Snapchat. It offers multiple formats: full-screen (“Snap Ads”), location-based (“Filters”), and augmented reality (“Lenses”).

Here’s an overview of all the different types of ads where you can insert app install ads:

App install ad on search and display networks

These ads typically include App icons, description text, and app store ratings. They’ll often show across search and display networks and link directly to an app store.

Interstitial ads

These are full-screen ads that tend to have higher clickthrough rates than banner ads but may have a higher cost per click (CPC). These appear as the user transitions between screens or pages in an app. Typical sizes for mobile phones include: 300 x 250, 320 x 480, and 480 x 320. And, sizes for tablets include: 1024 x 768 and 768 x 1024.

Banner ads

Banner ads appear as a small strip or “banner” across the top of an app page or screen. They’re the most commonly used ad format for mobile devices. You can upload double-sized images (for example, a 640 x 100 image for a 320 x 50 ad slot) for high-resolution display devices. Sizes for mobile phones and tablets typically include: 320 x 50, 468 x 60, 728 x 90, and 300 x 250.

App install ads in the App Stores

Your app install ad may include App icon, app name, developer/publisher name, average rating, and your custom text. It will appear in the Google Play and Apple App Store listings and in search results. From there, it links directly to your app store listing.

Video app install ads

Your ad can include a video from a YouTube link, text, app icon, app store text, and app store rating. It will appear on display network publisher sites and videos. This will drive users to install your app. Either directly from the YouTube app or by linking to the app store. The video will automatically play on devices with WiFi connections. People using 3G, 4G or LTE connections will need to click on the video for it to play.

App install ads on YouTube

In this instance, your ad can also include a video from a YouTube link. In addition to a text, an app icon, app store text, and app store rating. Also, It will appear on YouTube apps on iOS and Android devices. And, will link directly to an app store for the user to install your app.



App install ads are one of the best tools a user acquisition manager has for acquiring an engaged audience quickly. If you aren’t already leveraging app install ads in your ad campaigns, it’s time to invest time and resources into creating app install ads to scale your userbase.

app install ad


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.

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