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5 Ways to Improve Your Facebook App Install Ads & Cut CPI with Targeting

facebook app install ads cut cpi improve targeting

When it comes to running Facebook Mobile App Install ads, getting your targeting right is the quickest way to reduce your costs and skyrocket your results. Even the subtlest of changes can yield huge benefits. Here are 5 ways you can improve your Facebook App Install Ad targeting right now for instant results.

1. Don’t Waste Ad Impressions!

Something I see quite often is app developers showing ads to people who are literally unable to download the app even if they tried. There are 2 reasons for this:

a) Apple doesn’t allow us to download apps that are over 100MB in size over a cellular connection.

That means you need to check the size of your app and find out if it’s over 100MB. If it is, there’s no point showing Facebook App Install Ads to people who are on a cellular connection. Even if they see the ad and click on it, they won’t be able to download the app.

If you’re running an oCPM campaign, you will be paying for useless impressions.

It’s easy to prevent this in your Facebook Ad Campaign settings. All you need to do is go into your Ad Sets and tick the ‘Only When Connected to Wi-Fi’ box in the Placement settings. That will ensure your ads are only displayed to people on a Wi-Fi connection.

FB Ads WiFi only

Pro tip: Only show app install ads to people on Wi-Fi if your iOS app is over 100MB.

 

b) Often our apps don’t support all older operating systems. It’s common for mobile apps to support the current operating system version and a few earlier ones at most. It’s very rare that new apps will support all previous versions of an operating system.

So if you’re app doesn’t run on certain versions, why show your app install ads to people running those versions? Luckily this is also easy to avoid.

All you need to do is configure it in the Ad Set’s Placement settings. There is a drop down box that allows you to choose the OS version and above to support. Make sure you select the lowest version your app supports to avoid wasting advertising dollars.

Does your app only support recent versions of the Android or iOS? Make sure you exclude unsupported versions!

Does your app only support recent versions of the Android or iOS? Make sure you exclude unsupported versions!

 

2. Audience Size – Not Too Big, Not Too Small

The size of the target audience you choose for your ad campaign has a huge influence over how much you will pay for each app install.

Here’s the dilemma we face when it comes to choosing an audience size: Naturally we assume that a smaller, highly targeted audience is better than a large audience. It’s perfectly logical thinking. We assume that this smaller audience would achieve better results because it’s so highly targeted.

But often the results are very different to what we expect. If the audience is too small and your targeting isn’t perfect, the results can be far from impressive. Why?

The reason behind this is because a smaller audience means Facebook will charge you more for every 1000 ads they show (CPM). And if you are paying a lot more for your ad impressions but you aren’t getting lots more app installs, your Cost-Per-install (CPI) increases.

So does that mean that you should target a huge audience to reduce your CPM? Unfortunately it’s not that simple. You see, if you target a broad audience you naturally start to include people in your audience who aren’t your ideal customers. That means you are showing ads to a lot of people who are unlikely to be interested in your app. The result is that even though you have a lower CPM, you are getting fewer app installs for every 1000 impressions. In other words, you have to show a lot more ads to get a similar number of installs.

View your ad campaign’s potential reach as you configure the many targeting options (Credit: Facebook)

View your ad campaign’s potential reach as you configure the many targeting options (Credit: Facebook)

 

What’s the perfect audience size?

Unfortunately there’s no magic number that’s going to consistently get you optimism results. It’s going to depend on a whole range of factors. But based on my experience running campaigns for all sorts of apps, I’ve found starting with an audience size of roughly 1,000,000 is a good general number to aim for in the beginning. As always, you will need to do lots of testing and refinement to find the sweet spot, but this gives you some guidance as to where to start.

3. Know Your Users

You should know basic demographic information about your app users. Knowing the age, gender, location, language spoken etc. of your core user base is really important if you want to efficiently target your ads.

If you are using an analytics solution like Google Analytics or Flurry you will have this information available to you. Similarly, if you have the Facebook SDK integrated in your app you will be able to use Facebook App Analytics to obtain this data. If you aren’t using an analytics solution for your apps I recommend adding one ASAP.

The more you know about you audience, the more accurately you can target new users with your ads. Once you get more advanced with analytics you will start to see which segments of your user base are most valuable. That’s when things get really interesting because you can target new users who are just like your high value users.

Learn more about your app users with Facebook App Analytics

Learn more about your app users with Facebook App Analytics

 

4. Use Custom & Lookalike Audiences

This is my favorite targeting tool then it comes to Facebook ads. They are my favorite because they are super effective when it comes to driving down CPI.

What is a Custom Audience (CA)?

You define a Facebook Custom Audience based on specific actions performed by users of your app. Whenever a user performs that action they are added to your Custom Audience. Some common actions that are used to create Custom Audiences are:

  • App Installs
  • App Launches
  • In-App Purchases

You can then target your CA with Facebook ads. This can be a really powerful way to reach existing app users with very specific goals for your ads.

If you want to target and acquire new users, there is a solution for that as well. It’s called Lookalike Audiences (LA).

What is a Lookalike Audience?

Lookalike Audiences let you find people who are highly likely to be interested in your app because they are just like your existing users.

When you create a Lookalike Audience, you select a Custom Audience to base it on. The LA will then be populated with millions of people who are just like the ones in your CA. And because your CA contains people who are already loyal users of your app, it means your new LA will contain people who are probably going to love your app as well.

It’s an insanely powerful targeting method. You are leveraging all of that data that Facebook has to target only those people who have similar demographics, interests and behaviors to your current user base.

Here’s a simple way to use Audiences to reduce your app install costs:

  1. Integrate the Facebook SDK into your app.
  2. Set up Custom Audiences for App Installs, Launches and IAP’s in the Facebook Power Editor.
  3. Once you’ve got a couple of hundred people in your App Installs CA, create a Lookalike Audience from it.
  4. Target your new LA with an app install ad campaign.
Creating Custom & Lookalike Audiences for your mobile app is quick, easy and unbelievably effective (Source: Facebook)

Creating Custom & Lookalike Audiences for your mobile app is quick, easy and unbelievably effective (Source: Facebook)

 

5. Target specific segments

Rather than creating a single ad set for your entire target audience, you should create multiple ad sets targeting specific segments instead.

You see, although your app might appeal to particular demographics like men and women, age ranges like 18-55 etc. You can create a much more effective ad campaign if you target different demographics individually.

Here is an example:

You’ve all seen ads for dating apps in the Facebook news feed. Have you noticed that they always seem to show images of attractive members of the gender you are interested in?

As a man, every single dating app ad I see in my news feed has a picture of an attractive woman. That’s not a coincidence; it’s smart ad targeting.

As a man, every single dating app ad I see in my news feed has a picture of an attractive woman. That’s not a coincidence; it’s smart ad targeting.

 

Although the target audience of dating apps is generally going to be both men and women, the advertisers don’t just target both genders with a single ad set. Instead, they create separate ad sets so they can target each with a different, very specific ad. Women who are interested in men will probably see ads containing men with shirts off, six packs etc. And men interested in women will see probably see ads with attractive women.

You can imagine how much more effective this type of segmented targeting can be. By targeting specific segments separately you can greatly increase the chance of someone downloading your app because you can create a much more enticing ad for them.

So there you have it, 5 simple techniques to improve your Facebook App Install Ad Targeting. If you invest some time implementing these techniques and getting them right, I have no doubt you will be surprised by the results. If you want to take things a step further with your Facebook App Install ads, sign up for my free 4 part training series.

About the author

Andrew Hubbard - App Publishers ParadiseThis post was submitted by Andrew Hubbard, founder of App Publishers Paradise – a resource for mobile app user acquisition and marketing. Andrew helps app developers create highly successful Facebook advertising campaigns for their mobile apps. An Australian, he enjoys wrestling crocodiles, boxing kangaroos and racing emu’s. You can also reach him on Twitter @A_Hubbard

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