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Mobile apps have been gaining traction and speed, becoming more and more important for businesses to have. Some marketers are even stating that mobile apps may become even more important to businesses than their own websites. It does make sense in theory—we’re spending more time online, we’re increasing the amounts of time we spend on mobile devices, and the majority of that mobile time is spent using apps.

Whether or not mobile apps will ever be more important than a website (which they likely will be), the fact stands that they do matter now and that they can have a big impact on your business. With a mobile app, you’ll be visible and accessible to users at all times (why wouldn’t you order that grande mocha latte when Starbucks makes it so easy?), and you can instantly provide value to your customers by creating a direct marketing channel.

Facebook Ads is one of the best methods available to advertise and promote your mobile app, allowing you both to increase purchases and engagement. With these 7 easy techniques, it will be easier than ever to drive mobile app purchases with Facebook Ads.

1. Use The “App Downloads or Installations Objective”

Facebook has generously (and wisely) given us a large variety of different options for objectives we can choose through their ads platform, including options like “Promote Your Page” and “Send People to Your Website.” It only makes sense they’d have an option to increase app downloads and sales.

When you’re choosing your objective, select “Get Installs of your App.” Not only will this give you the option to add in the information you want to get your app installed, but Facebook will actually automatically optimize your ad for your objective (though you can choose to opt out of this).

drive mobile app purchases with Facebook Ads

Facebook optimizes ads by showing ads to an audience who has taken action and converted on similar objectives before; in this case, your ads would likely be shown to people who had downloaded or purchased apps from a Facebook Ad before.

When you’re looking to drive mobile app purchases with Facebook Ads, starting by choosing the right objective will get things heading in the right direction.

Pro tip: when you’re looking to increase engagement on your app, create a custom audience from your current set of app users, and run an “Increase Engagement” app targeting the people who already have it. With this technique, you can target users when trying to increase completion of a specific behavior – like completing a promo purchase, or signing up for a premium account.

2. Monitor Your Frequency

This is an important tip for all Facebook advertisers to know: monitoring and adjusting your frequency score can help keep your campaigns moving forward and retaining a higher number of conversions.

Frequency is the metric that shows you how many times, on average, the same user has seen a specific ad, and you can find it for each ad when looking at the metrics through your Ads Manager.

Having a slightly higher frequency is ok when you’re looking to create brand awareness and familiarity, but if you’re looking specifically for conversions, higher frequency isn’t ideal.

A low frequency often bodes much better for conversions, such as purchases of a mobile app. Especially when you’re launching your new app and you want a lot of purchases quickly, you want your frequency to stay low; though most customers may not convert the first time, if they’ve seen the same ad more than five times and haven’t clicked, they probably wont.

Having a frequency score of 2 or 3 is about as high as you want it to go.

When your frequency score starts creeping up, you can either stop the campaign and adjust your ad (copy, image, etc) or the audience that you’re targeting (or start from scratch with an entirely new campaign). Having a fresh start—and a new or revamped ad—can rejuvenate your campaign and potentially get you new conversions.

3. Target Users with Devices Your App is Compatible With

When you’re selling a mobile app, you always want to target only mobile users; you want them to see the ad, click on it, and download your app immediately, almost on impulse.

So the first step is to focus on targeting only mobile devices. Then you can break down the targeting into even more layers to better connect with your target audience.

You will want to target only the users who have devices that your app is compatible with; after all, it doesn’t do them or you any good for them to download an app they can’t use, because they can’t use it and you still paid for that conversion cost of the ad.

There are a variety of different compatibility options you can choose to target, and you can use them singularly or in combination. You can choose to target based on:

get mobile app purchases with Facebook Ads

drive mobile app purchases with Facebook Ads

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 2.55.12 PM

All of these options can be found under the Behaviors tab in the targeting section where you’re creating your ad.

Targeting based on types of devices is practical and highly effective, and is one of the most important strategies you can use to increase conversion costs when you’re trying to drive mobile app purchases with Facebook Ads.

Targeting is, after all, one of the largest benefits of Facebook Ads—we might as well use it.

4. Target New Device Owners

New device owners are excited about their recent phone or tablet purchase, and they have a ton of space they’re itching to fill up with new apps. To capitalize on this as someone who is selling an app, you can target new device owners through Facebook Ads.

The category “new smartphone and tablet owners” fits under a behavior in the targeting options, and allows you to reach those audience members before their phone is filled up with pictures, music, and apps from other businesses. Best of all—your app may stay “above the fold” or on the first page on users’ devices, putting it center stage and keeping your business visible at all times.

drive mobile app purchases using Facebook Ads

You can target new device owners as a behavior, and then later specify what type of device owners you want to target—combining these two targeting features can drastically increase mobile app sales.

5. Use a Lookalike Audience Based on Current App Users

Using lookalike audiences is a great way to drive mobile app sales with Facebook Ads.

In order to best take advantage of lookalike audiences, you want to start by uploading your current app users (being as specific as choosing your top app users, if you’d like) as a Custom Audience on Facebook. You can then create a lookalike audience off this custom audience, giving you a new, unreached audience full of users similar to the ones who already use and love your app.

This is similar to remarketing, and when used correctly, this type of lookalike audience can lead to huge increases in conversions. Since you’re targeting what is essentially a replica audience of your current app-using audience, using lookalike audiences is a great way to get those mobile app purchases.

6. Exclude Users Who Have Used Your App

The best targeting in the world won’t get you any sales if the people you’re targeting have already purchased your app.

To make sure that only users who have yet to purchase and download your app are being shown your campaign, and optimizing the potential for conversions and sales, make sure you choose to exclude your current app users.

exclude current app users Facebook Ads

In the targeting section on Facebook Ads, when you scroll down to connections you’ll see the option to target based on apps, and you can then choose to exclude users who have used your app.

7. Use App Engagement Ads for Up-selling 

While your initial ads campaign to attract new users for your app should utilize the “Get installs of your app” objective, you can later run ad campaigns with the objective to “increase engagement of your app.”

Will this drive initial app installs? Possibly. Will it allow you to up-sell your app users new, premium features? Absolutely yes.

When a user clicks on the app engagement ad, they will be taken right to the portion of the app where they would pay for the additional features when you use a deep link — you can direct users to different portions of the app experience like an online store, or a registration page. If users click on the ad but haven’t downloaded the app yet, they’ll be prompted to download your app first.

Even if the base product of your app is free (often called a “fremium” app), you can add on potential subscriptions or premium features users can choose to pay for, and promoting them with an additional call to action on an engagement ad is a great way to drive those app purchases; the ad will take them right into the app and use a deep link to drop them off at the place of purchase.

When using app engagement ads to up-sell new features, you can use a custom audience of your current app members, or target them through the connections target feature, to connect with users who are likely to be most receptive to the features and products you’re promoting.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve got a mobile app that you want to promote, Facebook Ads is the best platform to market it on, hands down. Particularly when it comes to the potential specificity of their targeting options, allowing you to target very specific types of device users, Facebook Ads is unmatched by any competing platform.

Have you used Facebook Ads to drive mobile app installs and purchases? What tips worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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