Facebook Ads over the years has become a significant app marketing channel and, not surprisingly, its app install revenue is booming. Last year Facebook passed one billion mobile daily active users. So in this article, we share our knowledge of tuning up Facebook Ads to increase the number of installs of your app as it’s one of the biggest paid mobile user acquisition channels.

The competition is getting tougher. Not surprisingly, many developers are looking to drive their apps to success with paid channels like Facebook Ads. But running a Facebook campaign can be your best or worst decision. If done well, you’ll be the winner. If not, you may lose your money.

What You Need to Know About Advertising on Facebook

There are a few things to know before you make your decision to invest in ads on Facebook. Facebook is the largest platform for app marketing. That means they’ve worked hard to win in this fast growing space and invest a lot in providing the best features.

From precise targeting options to a range of ads, there’s a lot app developers can achieve with it. This includes more installs, greater engagement, higher retention, and even improved App Store rankings.

Targeting

Among the coolest features on Facebook are custom and lookalike audiences. Custom audience means you can simply upload the emails of your users and target them with your ads. This is a great feature if your goal is retention and engagement.

Facebook recently introduced a feature called Audience Network. This allows you to target users way beyond Facebook and Facebook apps. You can reach users from other apps and mobile websites, such as Shazam, HuffPost, or Kardashian games, using same targeting options.

Types of Ads

There’s a wide range of ad types available on Facebook. The two main ones you need to know as an app developer are App Installs and Engagement Ads.

  • App Installs – These ads are simple. They’re designed to drive more installs. When a user taps on the ad, it takes them to your App Store page.
  • Engagement Ads These ads aim to boost engagement and retention rates by prompting users to take a specific action, like shopping or listening to a song. You can pick your targeting options from the Install State section or create a custom audience to segment them.

As it is quite clear, you use the former to boost your download rates and the latter to get people back to your app. Both are extremely important.

Obviously, you first need to start getting users. What’s even more important is to retain them.

Currently, 77% of apps are abandoned in less than three days after they are installed. In the course of the first 90 days, it’s almost 95%.

So, ideally, you want to combine both objectives in your campaigns.

Bekitzur: Types of Facebook Ads

Define Your Goals

Your first campaign should be about finding what works. It should be about testing various ideas without unnecessarily risking too much money. Take a small budget, break it down into smaller chunks, and try various things. For example, different kinds of ads, demographics, calls to action, and so on. No amount of online material and advertising guides will figure it out for you. Your app and your market are unique; you’ll have to become an expert on it. So, adopt this scientific approach right away.

In any case, you should never test more than two ads at the same time. Do classic A/B testing. Test one variable and have control and challenge versions. Then find out which one performs better.

Define Your Audience

If you don’t know who you’re targeting with your ads, you’re going to lose money. Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot of work to nail this one aspect of Facebook advertising.

Custom Audiences

As mentioned above they allow you to target specific users based on their emails or phone numbers. Where do you get those emails and phone numbers? Ideally, through your lead generation campaigns. There are many ways to generate leads, through content marketing, events, and different kinds of advertising campaigns. Or, you can use your existing accounts to boost your engagement rates and bring them back to your app.

Lookalike Audiences

With Lookalike Audiences, you just use your best users or your custom audiences and create a segment that exactly matches their profiles. The great thing about Facebook is that it knows a lot. Based on this data, you target precisely the types of users who deliver the highest ROI.

Target by User Persona

Facebook’s targeting features are unparalleled in their versatility. They allow you to target user segments based on their age, gender, location, interest, relationship status, education, and so on. So you want to know exactly who your ideal user is. That’s what user personas are for. They’re fictional characters that best represent your users.

You want to spend time creating your personas, especially if you don’t have a user base yet. Your initial user persona will represent your best guess based on what you learned throughout the app development process. By definition, a user persona is: “… a representation of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of users. In most cases, personas are synthesized from data collected from interviews with users.”

The best way to find all of that information is by utilizing the following:

  • Customer surveys – When building your product, you want to survey your beta testers, potential users, and anyone who participated in the product development. You can also target people using survey tools such as Google Surveys.
  • In-person and Skype interviews – Nothing provides better insight than actual face time with your potential users. It’s basically a must-do in your customer development process. Get them on Skype or see them in person. It’s a great competitive advantage and too few entrepreneurs actually do it.
  • Web, in-app forms, and exit surveys – Just use a simple pop-up or an exit survey to gather relevant insights.

When designing your customer persona, go into details. What are their names, ages, behavior, interests, problems, location, motivations, and so on?

Ad Creative

Your ad creative is absolutely critical to getting conversions. No matter how great your targeting, a poorly designed ad will just lose your money. There are a few elements to creating a great ad.

Picture

A picture is the most important element of your ad. That’s what most people notice first. There are a lot of opinions out there about what kind of picture performs the best.

There is no universal rule, but in general, you want a high-quality image that stands out and best conveys your product message. Real people, if relevant to your product, are considered the best choice. Don’t just use some stock photos. Invest in a photographer and get absolutely the best quality you can.

You can use different tricks to make your Ad stand out, like using the local pictures of the places you advertise in. And don’t forget to use pictures that will be suitable for the devices your audience is going to experience them on.

Headline and Ad Copy

A headline is the second most important thing in your ad. It should be clear, concise, and convey a call to action. A great headline cannot be vague. Your headline must be ultra-specific and it has to reflect what users ultimately want to accomplish by using your app. In fact, there’s a rule in copywriting for writing good headlines. It’s called 4Us.

  • Urgent – If there is no urgency, people aren’t going to act. Your headline must have the power to get people to download your app.
  • Unique It can’t be generic; otherwise, it won’t stand out. Uniqueness comes from your writing style and the claims you make.
  • Useful  If there is no value, no one is going to care. Value is the most important thing when it comes to product marketing.
  • Ultra-specific You’re talking to a specific person, so make sure you use their language and make them feel like the ad is made for them.

As for copy, you want to backup your claims. The best way to do so is by using social proof. We all look to other people for behavioral cues. If you have many users, say it. Be specific and use numbers. If you have some great awards, endorsements, or reviews, show them off.

Call to action

That’s basically your button. Again, it must be specific and relevant. If your app is a hotel booking app, the CTA is “book now.” If it’s a game, “play now.” You get the point.

Bekitzur: Choosing CTA for your Facebook Ads

Bidding Process

Facebook works like an auction. For that reason, there is no answer to, “How much does a Facebook Ad cost?” It all comes down to your decision.

In other words, how much you’re willing to pay for an ad can be manually adjusted in the pricing and bidding section. If you choose not to do so, Facebook will automatically calculate it for you based on your budget and the time you choose to have the ad running. There are a few factors that matter:

  • Audience – Audiences vary in value. You can target a salesperson, a yoga fan, or a person who loves fine dining, has recently opened a small business, or is at some particular location. Precise audiences are powerful. It might be quite worthy to pay extra.
  • Ad Quality  Your ads are assigned a relevance score, which is a number between one and ten, which measures how relevant your ad is to the audience you target.  This score adjusts as more users interact with your ad. The higher your relevance score is, the less you’ll pay for the ad.
  • Click-through rate – CTR is a metric that represents the number of clicks on your ad divided by the number of impressions. The higher the click-through, the higher the relevance, and thus, more value to your audience.

Bekitzur: How much should you spend on Facebook Ads

How Much Should You Spend?

Facebook advertising is highly competitive and it takes a lot of testing, time, and practice to figure out how to best convert Facebook users into new customers.

One mistake you want to avoid is spending thousands of dollars right away.

First, start with small values and work your way up to profitable campaigns. Once you figure that out, you’ll want to start scaling your campaigns. But it may turn out that Facebook advertising isn’t the right option for you. In such a case, go with the numbers and follow the money.

Summary

  1. Facebook is the largest advertising platform. But running a Facebook campaign can be your best or worst decision. Competition is tough and the costs can be high.
  2. Facebook offers unparalleled targeting features. Make sure to use them.
  3. There are many types of ads. For mobile apps, install and engagement ads are the most important. Use the former to boost your download rates and the latter to improve retention.
  4. Before you spend any money, you want to be clear on what you’re looking to achieve.
  5. Your first campaign should be about finding what works. It should be about testing various ideas without unnecessarily risking too much money.
  6. Take a small budget, break it down into smaller chunks, and try various things. For example, different kinds of ads, demographics, calls to action, and so on.
  7. If you don’t know who you’re targeting with your ads, you’re going to lose money. There are three ways to define your audience.
  8. Custom audiences allow you to target specific users based on their emails or phone numbers.
  9. With Lookalike Audiences, you just use your best users or your custom audiences and create a segment that exactly matches their profiles.
  10. If you’re just starting out, make sure you know who your user personas are. Use surveys and interviews to develop a detailed profile
  11. Your ad creative is absolutely critical to getting conversions. No matter how great your targeting, a poorly designed ad will just lose your money.
  12. The key elements of an ad are the image, headline, copy, and call to action. You want to make everything perfect.
  13. Facebook works like an auction. Audience, Ad Quality, and CTR, all determine your costs.
  14. Don’t start spending thousands of dollars right away. First, start with small values and work your way up to profitable campaigns.

Bekitzur can help

Our company has dedicated marketing teams that help out our clients with driving traffic, installs and actual leads with different digital advertising platforms. Facebook Ads is one of the most major channels to increase paid user acquisition flow. That’s why we always keep up with all the modern standards of Facebook Ads, including different targeting techniques, post types (especially video ads that have the best acquisition potential now) and guidelines. You can always trust your marketing strategy to us.

Sergey Demidov, CPO

CPO

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