Living in a mobile-first era is an ideal time to develop and launch an app for your business. However, it’s important to not get caught up in a ’build it and they will come’ mentality. If you’ve built a great app that your customers (old and new) will love, you need to consider how you’re going to market it.
With 2.27 billion users signing in monthly, a figure which continues to grow year-on-year, Facebook gives us a huge potential audience that, as marketers, we need to be taking advantage of.
We’re in the ’mobile-first’ era for a reason – over 90% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile devices, rather than desktop. There’s a good deal of competition throwing revenue at Facebook, making it even more important to really think about how to market your app in what we can safely call a pretty competitive arena.
In 2017, Facebook was responsible for around four billion app installs, which works out at about 20% of their total ad revenue. So, in a saturated marketplace, how do you make your app campaign stand out against the competition?
Laying a Good Foundation: Audiences
Facebook’s Audience Builder is still one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. But the chances are that the first audience you build and approach is not going to be your ideal target audience. So how do we find the perfect audience to download our app?
There are two approaches you can take when building your audiences for app installs – you can start off big, casting a wider net and then begin filtering down or, if you’re not confident about your audience or are working with smaller budgets, you can start off small and then test and refine your approach.
Don’t expect huge success immediately – different audience types at different campaign stages work better to generate conversions. Testing and refining your audience is absolutely key to garnering success in app install campaigns – just like any other campaign type on Facebook. Try setting up a few audiences based on interests and demographics and keep on testing. Use Lookalike audiences based on your initial converters to broaden your reach and to help you find new customers that match the behaviours of your app downloaders.
Make sure you build up remarketing lists, too – this becomes important later.
The Anatomy of a Well-Crafted App Install Ad
Instagram and Facebook tend to outperform all other digital channels for click-to-install rates when it comes to app promotion.
Crafting the perfect ad is made quite easy through Facebook; our recommendations are to always, where possible, use in-app screenshots or video for your ad creatives – make it clear that the product you are trying to sell is an app. Try using the carousel for imagery and for video, make sure that the first few seconds are really engaging.
Your ad headlines should be captivating and ad copy should clearly tell the reader how your app will benefit them as a consumer. When it comes to your call-to-action, Facebook ads give you a decent mix of pre-formulated options – again, test to see what works best for your app and your business.
When putting your ads and campaigns together, you’ve got a couple of options, depending on how confident you are about your target audience. You can choose to ‘Optimise for App Installs’ if you’re less sure, and ‘Optimise for Clicks’ if and when you’ve got your audience totally nailed down, as this tends to work out cheaper.
There’s a couple of fail-safes in place, too. You can set a limit on what you’re willing to pay per install, for example, which gives you more control over your campaign and lessening the risk of failure.
At this point, you’ve built your app and have effectively got users downloading it through a brilliantly constructed Facebook app install campaign. However, we can’t declare success just yet.
Improve Customer Retention with App Engagement Ads
77% of app installers will abandon your app within three days, 24% after just one use (statistics taken from 2017). After 90 days, it rises to a whopping 95%. Customer retention then becomes the challenge – how do we keep our app installers engaged and coming back to the app for more?
Facebook’s appropriately-named ‘App Engagement’ ad campaigns should be part of an ongoing marketing strategy for your business. Use these ads to re-engage previous app users and drive them to take specific actions in your app, or visit a specific section of your app.
Start by segmenting your app users and abandoners to create custom audiences based on app usage and activity – you can get quite granular and specific here, which means you can use different messaging and incentives dependent on your criteria. You can target users who have opened but abandoned the app, visited a particular page, made an in-app purchase and so on. We’d recommend rewarding loyal customers and testing different incentives to get app abandoners to use your app again.
The three biggest hurdles faced when building a successful app promotion campaign through Facebook are:
- ensuring your audience is your ideal target audience
- crafting engaging ads that stand out against the competition
- planning your long-term strategy around customer retention
Ultimately, with a ‘test and refine’ approach and a little patience, we’ve found that most businesses – big and small – can quite successfully promote their app through Facebook and keep users coming back for more.
If you have a new app that you are struggling to get noticed, or you are about to launch one and want to do so with impact, contact our award-winning PPC team today. Just fill in the form below!