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Episode 8: Facebook Mobile App Install Ads

Development is done and you've been approved in the app store...now it's time to get users. But how? Facebook Mobile App Install Ads, of course!

Episode Transcript — Facebook Mobile App Install Ads

00:00 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to the 'Spend $10K A Day' Podcast. I'm Stewart Anderson. With me, as always, my good buddy, Steve Weiss. Today, we are talking to you about Facebook mobile app install ads.

00:12 Steve Weiss: Specifically, mobile app install campaign.

00:16 SA: Yeah.

00:16 SW: I don't know if you guys are aware of this, but the best times of year to run app install campaigns are actually December, January, and February, because of all the gifting going on, with new iPhones and new Android phones. So, we're gonna be producing a lot of content and a lot of learnings around mobile app install campaigns. And, also, Facebook is making it a lot easier by building amazing ad tech tools to help mobile app install advertisers really leverage Facebook and Instagram as a platform.

00:46 SA: Yeah. I think, for me, the technology already is extremely impressive. Obviously, there's a ton of mobile ad networks out there that could do attribution for installs of your own ads. But Facebook's has some really, really cool tools, and combined with all their targeting abilities, it's really impressive.

01:04 SW: So, to do Facebook mobile app install ads and actually measure, number one, very important, measure the success of your campaigns by how many app installs at what price, aka CPI, cost per install, you need to install Facebook's SDK.

01:21 SA: Yeah. And you can either install the SDK directly, or you can use one of the Facebook marketing partners. There's a lot of vendors on the mobile side that actually bake that SDK in. Things like... What was it? Kochava, AppsFlyer?

01:37 SW: ApSalar, there's tons of...

01:39 SA: Yeah, there's tons.

01:40 SW: If you guys need any advice in picking an attribution partner, feel free to ring me directly. I have a lot of... Both me and Stu have a lot of experience in attribution. But in case, if you're using a HasOffers, HasOffers is one of the only ones that got kicked out of Facebook, you'll have to install the mobile SDK directly. Or if Facebook's the first channel, then you wanna install the SDK directly. But when you install the SDK, what's cool is you get to actually see all the data and the attribution coming into your app. "Attribution," when we use that buzz word again, aka buzz word, what we mean is we wanna attribute a person installing an app back to a specific Facebook ad campaign. An app install is just like a conversion. Same attribution window, same everything, just like a conversion on Shopify. Facebook will say you could set the conversion window, one-day view, 28-day click, etcetera, etcetera, and then Facebook will track when that user installs that campaign.

02:42 SA: Yeah. And then beyond that, too, Facebook has... Also has their free mobile analytics tool as well when you install their SDK. There's a lot of valuable insights in being able to see what happens after somebody installs your app. It's extremely important. It shows you kinda like the ROI on a lot of your campaigns. If you know, "Hey, not only did I get an install, but this person," let's say, spent, if you're a game, "They made four in-app purchases for $5 a piece." They have a LTV of just around like 20 bucks.

03:18 SW: Yup. And you could take that...

03:18 SA: Really valuable data.

03:19 SW: You could take that cohort data and then apply it to what you can pay for an install. So if you're making $20 and... You could pay as much as $10 for that install. So, another cool thing about Facebook is you could do a thing called, on Facebook Mobile, should I say, is you could do deep linking. "Deep linking" is another buzz word that I'm sure you've heard a lot in the space. And what deep linking really means is that advertisers wanna link to specific areas in their app, post-install, on specific campaigns. So once you have the SDK installed inside of your app, now, you could tell Facebook that, "I wanna drop everyone on this registration part," or "I wanna... I'm giving away a free coupon, or for some free virtual currency, and I wanna drop everyone onto this place in the mobile app."

04:09 SA: It's, I think, a really important tool for an ecommerce company, especially, there is DPA in mobile apps, but I mean, regardless, you need to be doing some sort of deep linking 'cause if you advertise, let's say, in your ad on Facebook and you feature a certain product in it, why not take them to the screen within the app that has that product? Take 'em right there. It's very likely to increase the conversion rate of getting somebody to buy.

04:42 SA: The technology out there is getting easier and easier to work with. It's easier to make these deep links, 'cause when you first think about, like, "Hey, I gotta figure out this screen and configure all this stuff," the setup, especially, when you have to go to your developer, it can seem a little bit cumbersome, but it's getting easier and easier to do, too. So these campaigns are getting easier and easier to make.

05:01 SW: So, three high-level, one, mobile SDK Facebook. Number two, deep linking. Number three, we're gonna talk a little bit about some type of audience selection. Just like when you sell a product online, all the people who bought that product are now being moved into a specific audience segment on your website custom audiences.

One of the tactics that we use from when we do Facebook mobile app install ads is we like to target people who've already downloaded the app with specific ads versus people who haven't downloaded the app. It's very important that you don't keep running a mobile app install ad to someone who's already installed the app. So, really, make sure you exclude all the people who've downloaded your app. I'm pretty sure you could use their app ID, right, Stu? You could exclude people based on app ID?

05:50 SA: Yeah, I think so. I'm pretty sure.

05:53 SW: So you could exclude people based on app ID, based on email address, based on phone number, but it's just really important to really not run the same redundant campaign to someone who's already installed your app. We've seen that happen a multitude of times. So, highly recommend building new ads based on where a user is in your funnel.

06:13 SA: Yeah. Absolutely. What can somebody be doing in this time period? What can somebody be doing during this time of year to separate themselves, to really put themselves... Just separate themselves from everybody else that's advertising, especially on mobile? Let's talk a little bit about what a mobile app or a mobile app company can do to make sure that they're getting the install off of the Facebook ads.

06:43 SW: So, just some high-level strategy that we've tested out that we're kinda perfecting, this is not... By no means is this best practice, this is just a growth-hacking tactic that we're testing out in-house.

We found out that you could connect a Facebook lead ad to what you call an IVR system or a response system. Which is really cool, because if someone puts in their phone number, their e-mail, they can get an autoresponder, both on text or on e-mail, to do a specific action.

We've seen, over the last year or two years, that app install conversion rates from driving a person directly from the ad to the app have been decreasing month over month over month. So we actually built out a new funnel, which is kinda unique, where we actually do a lead ad to a text message to an app install. And we don't have enough data on that right now, but we're getting leads really cheap for a number of our app install partners.

And just being innovative, leveraging the platform to really try and generate app installs in a very creative way, instead of just pushing people to an app store, I think, is the evolution of mobile advertising on Facebook, because now, everyone's site is mobile-optimized. And people just don't like being pushed to download an app.

08:01 SA: Yeah. You really have to sell the value prop... It's an action that requires a lot of intent. You're not gonna get everyone to download. And that's... It goes back to the point we were making before about deep linking, too, you wanna make sure that if somebody does take the time to download, that you take 'em to the right screen. If you have somebody who's... Basically, the battle isn't over once you get somebody to install. You need to make sure they stay around.

08:29 SW: Stu brings up a great point. I think, a lot of companies, they think that the goal is to generate installs to show growth. That's the wrong way to look at growth, in my opinion. Generating app installs to show growth, maybe initially, maybe your first couple months in business, but after that, it's a retention game.

Once you're generating installs and you have an organic footing, now, the question is whether you're... Now, we're gonna get into automation, whether you're sending some type of push notifications to keep people in the app, there's a plethora of different areas, that's a whole other conversation but...

09:02 SA: Yeah. I think... Exactly right. When I was head of growth at a startup that had a mobile app, we saw that cost per install is like a secondary metric. It was something that was kinda nice to know, but what we're really measuring was cost per retainings or...

09:19 SW: Cost per purchase, like actual ROAS, after someone downloads the app.

09:24 SA: Yeah. So we didn't have purchases, but we were measuring of off active users or retained users, and we had a specific criteria for what that constituted. And so we were taking the CPI of acquiring them, and then multiplying that, calculating it based on what percentage of that campaign's users actually were active or retained. That was the metric that we really measured. So you really wanna evaluate your install campaigns based on, what is the quality of the user that you're bringing in? Yeah, you're exactly right, Steve.

09:52 SW: Yup. So, just a quick recap. Getting into mobile, if this is something new to you, make sure you have the mobile SDK installed, make sure you have deep linking installed. Number three, make sure you're excluding your mobile app install people from your current campaigns. And then number four, make sure that your metrics are adding up. Make sure that you're not just driving people into an app install campaign. Make sure you're tracking and understanding what people are doing, and how to keep them engaged, how to retain them without having to keep spending money on Facebook.

10:26 SA: Yeah. Yeah, and... That's a whole other probably series of podcasts talking about mobile retention, building viral loops, and all that stuff. You could talk about that for days. But I think, ultimately, right here, right now, focusing on just the acquisition and the install, there's a lot of stuff you can do to get people on to your app.

10:49 SW: And then last thing, number five, just some tactics we've been using to get people to download apps, Facebook lead ads, to an IVR system, to an install, there's a whole lot of creativity you could have. You could have... You could build a funnel or if someone could send them directly to a website, they put in their e-mail and their phone number, and then they get a text message to download the app.

I just wanna really talk, put out to the universe, that it's very important for you to think outside the app store, just think outside of what we call "direct linking." Because you might not get a great CPI direct linking to your app right away because the app is a barrier to entry. So, number five, get away from the deep links. Start thinking of other ways to generate app installs without having to push people into one specific area.

11:37 SA: Yeah.

11:39 SW: Alright, guys, well, let's go make some money. [chuckle]

11:43 SA: Sounds good. We'll see you next time, everyone.

11:46 SW: Alright, take care.

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