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Mobile app installations - CPI under €1

I have been responsible for acquiring new customers for a mobile app for a few months now. This is a digital contract manager that allows you to manage, cancel and optimize your contracts. Since I have been responsible for digital marketing, we have tested different marketing channels; from Paid content from AdWords (search network & display network) to Facebook app install campaigns. Facebook app install campaigns in particular are working very well. With one of our campaigns, we even achieved a CPI (cost-per-installation) of €0.86 in the last few days. For one Contract manager appwhere CPC bids are usually around €2-3, this is not a bad value. Today I'll explain how I managed to optimize the CPI to €0.86.

App marketing: How do I get people to download my app?

Many roads lead to Rome. However, today I will only describe how you can optimize your mobile app via Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising more widely known. Of course, we all want our app to be downloaded organically for the most part, but this is rarely the case. But even with a small marketing budget of < €3000, you can sustainably increase app downloads.

App installation campaigns via Google AdWords

The first Performance marketing channelThe first option that many people think about is probably Google AdWords. What could be more obvious than advertising in the PlayStore when users are actively searching for apps? There are two ways to market your app via the Google network. Firstly, you have the option of promoting the app via the Search network from Google, and on the other hand you can use the Display network to increase your app downloads.

Search network campaigns/app install ads

To App installation displays via the Google network, your app only needs to be installed in the PlayStore be available, as this allows Google to track the number of downloads. To place an app install ad, first click on "+ Search network only campaign" and then select the "App install ads" option. Next, select the app to be marketed and you can then place normal AdWords campaigns for the Google search network. You should be aware that the number of app downloads depends on the search volume and is not infinitely scalable. For this reason, I recommend running display campaigns in addition to search network campaigns.

If you want to run display campaigns, first select "Display network only" and then the marketing objective "Increase interaction install my mobile app". The great thing about app install ads via the display network is that you can place your display ads in other apps. You will find the corresponding selection option under "Type of ad targeting". There you have the choice between 1. show my ad to all potential app users, 2. interests & remarketing, 3. placements and 4. use other targeting methods (especially demographic targeting). Here you should select the ad targeting "Placements", because with Placements you can select the categories of the apps in which you want to place ads. Display network campaigns would like to place. I have selected the Office, Efficiency & Finance categories to market our Contract Manager app, as you can see in the image below.

App campaigns

Facebook app install ads

Facebook installation ads are the counterpart to Google's display network campaigns. To be able to play the installation ads, you must have the mobile SDK in your app so that downloads and other events can be tracked in your app. Facebook's targeting options are ideal for addressing your target group. Facebook also offers you Facebook Analytics a unique analysis tool to track in-app activities and get to know your target group even better. When advertising on Facebook, however, you need a little more patience than with Google. You also need to test a lot more to get a good return on your ads. For testing & evaluating ads I use Adespresso. With Adespresso it is much easier to place several different ads than in the Power Editor. Adespresso also makes it much easier to evaluate the results.

Custom Audience & Lookalike Audience  

When I started Facebook app install ads I focused on a cold audience, i.e. Facebook users who had not yet interacted with our app or website. If you have a website with a sufficient number of visitors, then I recommend using the Facebook Pixel on your website and turn these visitors into a custom audience. You can now draw the attention of this custom audience to your app using retargeting campaigns. Another option is to use the custom audience to create a lookalike audience. A lookalike audience is a Facebook user who has similar interests and characteristics to your custom audience. With my Custom Audience & Lookalike Audience in particular, I achieve a CPI of €0.86. My recommendation is therefore that you create a Custom Audience and build up your campaign using Lookalike Audience scale. If you don't have a custom audience, then simply start by running Facebook app install ads. Based on the app downloads triggered by the Facebook ads, you can build your own custom audience. You could hardly have a better custom audience than your app users.

You can create a custom audience with as few as 20 users, but your targeting and the accuracy of your campaigns will improve significantly if you have several hundred or thousand people in your custom audience.

If you have any questions or suggestions, I look forward to hearing from you.

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Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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