Create a Facebook App Installs Campaign that Converts

Getting your Facebook app installs campaign to work and actually get conversions is one of the toughest challenges in Facebook marketing.

Think about it, with an app, you’re not only expecting a user to click on your ad, read a blog or make a purchase. You are hoping a user will actually reserve a little corner of their smartphone just for your business. They’re making a commitment by downloading your app, assuming that the app will serve some great purpose in their everyday life.

Of course, with the challenges that come with creating a successful app installs campaign, come great rewards. Mobile marketing is where your priorities should lie in today’s digital marketing world, and an app seriously boosts your mobile presence and is the number one way to optimise your business for this medium.

The fact users can interact with your business at the touch of a button makes you the go-to service for whatever it is you provide. Users won’t search online for a competitor; they’ve already got their solution sitting on their home screen.

Provided your app provides value, you can easily nudge users to easy in-app purchases and other actions. You can provide attentive and comprehensive customer service and build brand loyalty as you continue to offer users a seamless experience.

Of course, none of this is possible without people actually installing your app. Fortunately for you, Facebook has a feature that helps you optimise for this very action.

But you can’t just go ahead and build a tonne of ads that ‘optimise for app installs’. There are a couple of trick and tips you need to have in mind when creating your app installs campaign, and we’re going to take you through them all now.

Buyer Personas

If you’ve read any of our other blogs, or if you’re familiar with the way we work here at Filed, you’ll know how vital the concept of a ‘buyer persona’ is. You might already be familiar with what constitutes a buyer persona, but we’ll elaborate just to really hammer home the importance of establishing one early on in your campaign.

A buyer persona is your ideal customer. You need to consider the person that would be most likely to buy your product or services, and then consider the attributes they would have. How old would they be, where are they from, are they male or female, what is their education background, their occupation?

When you’ve built this imaginary person, like your old imaginary friend, they’ll be sticking by your side and in the forefront of your mind throughout your entire campaign. Every decision you make will be dictated by your buyer persona.

This includes decisions about your app. Really dig down on what your app offers. It can’t just be a shop; an app has to offer a valuable function to the user. People don’t download apps that act purely as a place to buy (unless you fancy going up against Amazon). You need to consider your buyer persona. What would they want to from an app?

Clearly, you need to understand their pain points. How is your app going to improve your buyer persona’s life? What is the solution your app provides?

A great example of an app that has clearly considered their target audience is Resident Advisor. A music magazine and community platform, they make money through ticket sales for music events. But rather than simply make their app a place to buy tickets, they’ve considered what the kind of person that buys tickets for music events would find useful.

They offer a location-based service that shows users events that are going on in the near future, allowing users to personalise their preferences by artists they like. They solve that issue of ‘where can I go out this weekend?’, and then nudge the user into buying tickets for the event they find on their app.

Keep your buyer persona in mind when developing your app, no one is going to download a glorified online shop with no service in mind.

Defining Your Objective

Link Clicks

If your aim is simply to increase the reach of your app, then you would choose the bid type ‘Link clicks’. This would result in your ad being targeted at the widest range of users, who are most likely to watch your promotional video all the way through, or click the link on your ad, depending on what you specify.

In reality, if you’re looking for users that are actually going to install your app, this probably isn’t the ideal bidding option for you. However, if your aim is to simply spread the word about your app and tell as many people who are likely to have in interest in your industry as possible, this may well be your best bet.

App Installs

If your aim is to simply get your Facebook app installs campaign driving users to install your app, then setting your overarching objective as ‘App Installs’ and then your budget optimisation to ‘App Installs’ seems like a pretty intuitive way to go.

By selecting this budgeting option, Facebook will deliver your ad to the users most likely to install your app. The actual users they will target depends on the criteria you set in your targeting. This is where your buyer persona, once again, needs to be kept in mind. If you target effectively, Facebook will find the right users to serve your ads to.

App Events

What if the aim of your Facebook app installs campaign isn’t merely to get users to install your app, but to install the app and then take a particular action within that app? If this is the case, then we would recommend using the ‘App Events’ optimisation for ad delivery.

With this option, Facebook will show your app to users that are most likely to take a certain action within your app. The action is whatever you specify and requires the Facebook SDK and setting up app events.

When you have installed the Facebook SDK and you have set up app events, you leave yourself in a position where you can optimise for certain events that would take place on your app.

There are 24 standard events that you could optimise for:


Let’s say you were running a Facebook app installs campaign for Resident Advisor, and your aim was to get as many people as possible to buy tickets through the platform. By using App Event Optimisation and installing the Facebook SDK, you could optimise for Purchase, Add Payment Info or Add to Cart.

This way, Facebook would target your ads at users who were most likely to purchase, add their payment info or add something to their cart. In a single campaign.

I’m sure you can see why this is so useful.

If Facebook is aiming your ads at users who are likely to make an action on your app, the chances they will install it will be extremely high. Not only this, but you’re reading this blog because, presumably, you want to create a Facebook app installs campaign that converts.

Conversions are whatever you want them to be, and by using App Events Optimisation, you can drive conversions by targeting users likely to provide that conversion.

Smart Targeting


You’ll probably already know how impressive Facebook’s targeting abilities are. After all, you wouldn’t be the first person to start screaming “Facebook is listening to me” when you see an ad pop up for a business you were just talking about the other day.

But it’s (probably) not Facebook eavesdropping on your conversations. It’s far more likely to be accurate targeting, and the fact that you’ve been on Facebook enough for them to build up a pretty accurate profile on you.

Anyhow, before we get bogged down in privacy scares and the end of online security as we know it, let’s think about how you can leverage Facebook’s targeting to create a Facebook app installs campaign that converts.

Of course, there’s the simple matter of targeting your audience by demographics. Where your audience is from, their age, their gender, that kind of thing. Then there’s the next level of interest targeting where you can really needle in on those nitty gritty details of your buyer persona.

But why not go a step further? Think about your app specifically. What devices does it perform at its best on? What operating system does it work best with? You have the ability to target devices, make the most of it.

Create lookalike audiences from your current app users, consider targeting similar apps, just get a bit creative with your targeting. Go beyond the standard practices to ensure only those who will get the very most out of your app are targeted. This way, you’ll see conversions skyrocket.
Final Thoughts

Of course, getting the right creatives, crafting the right copy and getting your ad placement right is as key as any of these tips above, but hopefully this blog has given you some good ideas on how to set up a Facebook app installs campaign that actually converts.

Getting your app on the smartphones of your target audience is just about the best possible way to keep yourself at the forefront of your industry. If you get this right, you could see huge leaps forward for the way your market perceives your business, how they interact with you, and how they buy from you.

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