Secrets to App Installs on Facebook

By April 9, 2014Social Media

Facebook introduced the Mobile App Install ad unit about 2 years ago. In that time, Facebook has quickly become a premier channel to drive mobile app installs, at volume. Cost per install (CPI) prices have varied wildly over the past 24 months, and are typically the key metric app marketers focus on – at least initially (which is OK). But the savviest marketers are starting to move beyond pure CPI evaluation, and look toward return on investment (ROI).

Tracking installs generated from Facebook ads requires the FB SDK. That allows marketers to get install attribution to the ad level, vital for CPI optimization (cost minimization). For example, a marketer for a popular couponing app might see that while more installs are being generated from ads targeted to young Moms who like Disneyland, the ads targeting older Moms who like Bed Bath & Beyond have a 2x lower CPI. Therefore, increase the budget for the latter.

CPI minimization, though not directly correlated with ROI, is usually the best-first optimization strategy. Once CPI is minimized (which is a constant effort in its own right), app marketers start to look toward ROI maximization; that is, generating the most return for the ad dollars spent. For example, a gaming app might find that males who like Flappy Birds have a higher CPI, yet spend 3x more than the average user on in-app purchases (virtual goods, game credits, etc). Therefore, increase the budget for males who like Flappy Birds.

Typically, ROI evaluation has been the business of third-party mobile measurement partners, like Kochava or AD-X. The app marketer would need to integrate the partner SDK to appropriately track revenue generated from Facebook installs and attribute that back to individual ads.

However, a little known fact, earlier last summer Facebook unrolled a beta feature within their own SDK called App Events. App Events allows a marketer to track any action within their app without installing a third-party SDK. The event can be “one of 14 predefined events such as ‘added to cart’ in a commerce app or ‘level achieved’ in a game, or other custom events that help you understand the engagement and ROI.”

Now with just a few extra lines of code, any app with the Facebook SDK can optimize for ROI without any third-party SDK integration! This helps marketers quickly evaluate FB ROI without any heavy technology investment and build the case for growing spend significantly on the Facebook channel.

Can we help you? We’ve spent over $1 Million on Facebook ads across dozens of top mobile apps and would love to help!

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