Best Practices of Creating Facebook App Ads That Drive Installs

It is beyond doubt that Facebook is one of the greatest sources for brands to reach their audiences because it is the biggest social media platform in the world. According to a study conducted by Verto, Facebook’s app is dominant among other apps regarding both reach (115 M monthly users) and time spent (14 hours per user per month). So it is a perfect place to grow your app, especially in terms of app downloads.

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Its huge usage is not the only reason to prefer Facebook app ads. Let’s look at the important ones.

  • It provides perfect segmentation options that help your app reach the right audience.
  • It is cost effective for cost per installs. You can easily increase your downloads with costs lower than other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram.
  • If you also need to increase the retention rate of your app, Facebook provides ads that drive engagement for your current users. So you don’t have to think about how to fix the retention problem with a lower cost.
  • Facebook Insights help you understand how well your ad performs on Facebook. Both during and after the ad campaign, you can find the main metrics to benchmark with your KPIs. You can also easily create and benchmark for different versions of your app by analyzing the results.
  • If you choose Facebook App Install Ads correctly, you increase your downloads with lower costs. And that means you rank higher in app stores with lower costs.

Well, if we are on the same page about the importance and effectiveness of Facebook ads, let’s continue with the types of Facebook ads for your mobile app, according to your goal.

Mobile App Install Ads

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Mobile app install ads aim to increase your downloads by showing them in the News Feed of your target audiences’ Facebook accounts.

Mobile App Engagement Ads


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These ads aim to engage with your existing users to increase retention by sending them from their News Feed inside your app to take a specific action, like shopping or listening to a song. Facebook gives you targeting options according to your need. You can pick them all from Install State section or create a custom audience to segment them.
Well, we know the mobile ad types of Facebook we can choose for an app. What you need to do now is open your Ads Manager account. After clicking the Create Ad button, you will be welcomed by a screen that helps you to choose your marketing objective. Here, you can make your decision according to your need.

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In this guide, we will address the details of mobile app install ads and share the pillars of an effective mobile app install ad to increase your downloads. Now, let’s get started by deep diving into each pillar’s details.

9 Pillars of Successful Facebook App Ads to Drive Installs


1-     Pick the Right Audience by Creating Your Segment

The best part of Facebook app ads is its amazing segmentation feature. Here are the details and how you should use it to get the most out of it.
This process must be taken seriously. You really need to know who your target audience is. If you don’t have a study on this, this is a serious problem that can even effect your ROI calculation. Analyze your existing users (and even Facebook follower demographics), talk to them, conduct a poll, and do anything to find your real audiences.
Here is another way – the easiest way to create Facebook mobile app install ad – using Facebook Analytics for Apps. As Facebook stated clearly: “Facebook Analytics for Apps is a powerful solution to understand the people who use your apps, optimize their experience and reach them with powerful campaigns. With over a billion people on Facebook, Analytics for Apps is the only solution that gives you audience insights like age, gender, education, interests, country, language, and many more.”

It is perfectly integrated with Facebook Ads Manager, too. You can follow every important metric you need. We highly recommend using it for better analysis.


It is easy to implement the audience analysis that Facebook Analytics for Apps gave you in your Facebook Ads Manager.
Now, let’s look at what data Facebook Ads Manager needs to create your segment.
Facebook Ads Manager gives you the opportunity to segment your user, according to these criteria:

  • Location(s): You can choose more than one country and more than one city in a specific country. You can also exclude locations to get better results. Facebook also gives you the chance to add bulk locations if you have a very detailed location list to make it easier to add.

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  • Language(s): Again you can choose more than one language. However, pick the language your ad and your app consists of to reach the most suitable audience and increase the chance of download. Leave this option blank, unless the audience you are targeting uses a language that is not common to the location you have chosen in the location part.
  • Age: You can select the minimum and maximum ages you think are most relevant to your app.
  • Gender: If your app is highly relevant to only one gender, you can specify your segment in this part.
  • Demographics, Interests & Behaviors: In this part, you will show how well you know your target users. Facebook provides hundreds of options here to make your segmentation You can choose an interest, like “mobile marketing”, or you can choose demographics, like “Friends of Upcoming Birthday”, or you can choose a behavior, like “Fans of 3 or More Teams.” Another amazing feature is you can also exclude people with specific demographics, interests, or behaviors. To create a better Facebook ad with higher results, start by filling in this targeting part fully and correctly.
  • Connections: If you need to narrow your targeting according to your connection level, Facebook allows this too. You can reach people who have a specific connection to your page, app, or event (if there are any).

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  • Mobile Device: If your app is only available in App Store or Google Play or it supports specific devices, you have the option to target your audiences according to mobile device preference. You can even pick such device models, like Samsung Galaxy S4.


After you give every detail Facebook needs about your audience, you can see how well your audience is targeted on the right side of the Ad Manager screen. Make sure it is in the middle of the green area, not in the red. It shows the average number of your ad’s potential reach.

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2-     Give the Benefit You Provide Not Your App’s Features

One of the common mistakes app owners or advertisers do is focus on the app’s features. People do not care how many or how amazing your app features are. They care about how they can get benefit from it. So show them why they need your app by convincing them via your benefits. You can use this in the visuals and descriptions of your Facebook ad.
Research shows people love the words that provide a benefit to them. Let’s deep dive for more understanding. According to research conducted by HubSpot and AdEspresso, users take action on the ads that include the words:

  • You/Your
  • Free
  • New
  • Now

Because these words speak directly to the audience, people love them. Also positive sentiments, according to the same research, have a higher chance to make people take the action you want them to. Positive words, like capable, win, and yummy, have a higher chance to get the attention of your audience.

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3-     Use the power of numbers and stats

Numbers and stats have a huge power on people to convince them to take an action, because they make them feel part of a big community or like they have exclusive opportunities. If you show them these benefits by using numbers, they feel a part of it. Do you have a music app? Then show them how many songs are inside it, how many people are using it, or how many music categories you provide inside the app. You can also use this pillar for discount rates, too.
Here are best practices for using numbers in your ad:

  • Social proof is important. This is why you should choose the largest numbers you can.
  • How many people are using your app is an important and convincing stat. It shows how trustful your app is.
  • “+” has a positive feeling on Use statements such as “10.000+ users” or “10.000.000+ songs” in your ad.



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4-     Choose the Best CTA for Your Add

Don’t underestimate the power of your CTA for the success of your ad. Consider the CTA text, according to the category of your app and the ad type. First, you need to think about the action your audience takes when they click your ad. They’ll want to do what they are promised in the call to action. So don’t disappoint them. Then, look at what Facebook provides you as CTA. Be creative and choose CTA other than Install Now and Download. If you are a hotel app, choose Book Now or Learn More, rather than a simple Download.
Research shows that Sign Up is used more in Facebook ads than Install App or Download.
If you make the action more specific, people love it more. So, direct them clearly if you want more downloads.

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5-     Use images that include a mobile device

Facebook says, if you use images that include a mobile device, you have a higher chance of driving downloads from your ad. Images with a mobile device can help your audience visualize using the app. It makes your ad images personalized. Prefer visuals with people, not vectors.
There is an important point here. What you place inside the device is important. Choose one of your most significant screens that shows your benefit (the most important feature you are providing).
You can also adapt these rules to a video ad. If you want to promote your app via a video, include a mobile device and pick the screens and benefits you want to show carefully.

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6-     Pick Compelling Visuals


Before talking about what is really compelling for a Facebook ad image(s), let’s start with what options Facebook provides for a mobile app ad.

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As you can see above, Facebook gives you 2 options to create your ad. First is choosing a single image or video. Second is creating a carousel with more than one image or video.
If you want to show more than 1 benefit of your app, you can choose the carousel feature.

Best Practices for Choosing/Creating Compelling Visuals

  • Be sure your visual(s) – even if it is a video or an image – shows a positive emotion.
  • Add a CTA at the end of your video if you prefer to choose a video ad.
  • Avoid stock photos.
  • Use image(s) including screenshots of your app.
  • Use contrasting colors to avoid confusion.
  • If you prefer carousel ads, you can use continuing images like above.
  • The first few seconds are very important for your video. If you choose to use a video on your ad, use these first seconds to draw your audience’s attention.

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7-     Make the Placement Right

Blazingly, people will download your app if they see your ad on their smartphone. This is why you need to place your ad on the mobile news feed and audience network.
Let’s look at which options Facebook provides for placement.

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First, you can leave the choice up to Facebook. If you choose Automatic placement, Facebook chooses the placement by analyzing your audience and where they really are.
If you choose mobile news feed as placement, Audience Network will be chosen automatically. You can change it later. You already know what Mobile News Feed is. Let’s look at what Audience Network is for.
With Facebook’s statement: “Your ads will show in mobile News Feed and approved partner mobile apps and mobile websites that are part of Facebook’s Audience Network. All targeting capabilities available on Facebook are available on the Audience Network as well.” So your ads will be shown in mobile apps and websites with perfect targeting. To reach more people in your target, choosing this option increases the opportunity to drive more downloads.

8-     Test Your Ad with Different Versions

Even if you do all the best practices above, you cannot be sure your ad will drive the number of installs you imagine. This is why you should create alternative ads to benchmark.

What to Change for Your A/B Testing

When you consider testing your ad with different versions, there are many elements you need to consider. You need not change all of them in one ad. Test the ad with small budgets by changing each part, one by one. Here is the list.

  • Visual/Video
  • Ad Copy
  • Call to Action
  • Type of Ad (Carousel or Classic)
  • Your Audience (if you are not sure of it)


9-   Make Your ASO Perfect

It is not over when you create the best ad on the planet. Don’t forget you’re directing your audience to your app store page. If your goal is to make them download your app, you need to bring your app store page to perfection to increase the chance. ASO (standing for App Store Optimization) is a perfect solution to make this happen. With ASO, you present your app in a perfect page that totally explains what your app does. Its main advantage, with that perfection, is making your app rank higher at app stores.
Here are the elements ASO includes:

  • Category Analysis: Choosing the right category affects your ranking. So first, a category analysis must be conducted.
  • Keyword Analysis: This is the most important part of ASO. You need to find relevant keywords with a higher chance of ranking. This should be a very detailed analysis to find the blue ocean for your app.
  • Name and Title Optimization According to the Best Practices.
  • Description: You should optimize your description by using your main keywords.
  • Icon & Screenshot Optimization: They are what your audience first sees after opening your app store page. They must be optimized according to the best practices.
  • Localization if Needed: You must be clear about whether your app needs localization. This might highly affect your number of downloads.


As it goes for every channel in digital and mobile, if you don’t use Facebook Mobile Install Ads effectively by following best practices, it will not be useful for you to drive the number of downloads you want to reach for your app. After all these pillars and best practices, if you are still unsure about creating a Facebook ad campaign by allocating a big budget, try starting small. It helps you see the potential and decide if you need to invest in more.

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