App Install Ads 101: Definition, Examples & Tips to Run a Successful Campaign

Natalya Ustymenko

Whether your app is a niche app, a local online store, or a social network, if you're new to it, it's easy to go unnoticed among the over 2 million varieties on the Google Play and Apple App Stores. Don't rely solely on good UX/UI design and functionality to rank at the top of recommendations. Use the best way to promote your app effectively — through mobile app install ads. This article will explain why you should add this strategy to your advertising company.

What Are App Install Ads, and How Do They Work?

App install ads are a type of ad displayed to potential users on social media or other platforms to get them interested and download your app without going to the app page in a store. This type is one of the best ads for apps because of its aims to grab customer attention, simplified process of installation, and, therefore, increased organic traffic and the number of installs in a limited period.

The app installs ads is one of the ways to improve the application's rating, which is especially true for a freshly created one. Simple at first glance, advertising consisting of building blocks (title, description, image, CTA button) can become cost-effective mobile marketing campaigns due to return on investment and high productivity.

Monthly active users

Benefits of App Install Ads

By creating a mobile application, you strive to become the best and get into the TOP recommendations in the app stores. But how to get app installs, especially at the beginning? To achieve this, you must invest in the development and promotion of your mobile application. However, what you invest will pay off for you with impressive numbers. Here are some reasons why you should use mobile app advertising.

Promote and increase the download frequency of new apps

Now the client's trust consists of the number of positive reviews and ratings. Relying on organic app downloads for newcomers is next to impossible. Users prefer installing apps with hundreds and thousands of reviews.

How do you increase the number of your app installs? The answer lies in user behavior. They are more likely to download an app with an easier installation process like the app install ads provide.

Attract users with a trial version

How to attract a client who knows nothing about your application? Give them an opportunity to try it. Add a small trial period to your app, which will contain the essential functions of your application. Then create a unique value proposition, so potential users will see its value to them. This way, your users can try your app and see for themselves the benefits it brings before buying the full version.

Direct payment for tracking downloads and installations during advertising campaigns

Another advantage of app advertising is that you get clear and measurable results. They provide an opportunity to adjust an existing advertising campaign or plan a future one. Also, you do not need to pay per view (CPV) or per click (CPC). With mobile app ads, you pay per install. This indicator clearly indicates the number of direct downloads and from which platforms they were made. You will clearly see which of the networks has value for the marketing strategy.

Brand awareness of your app

In order to be talked about, you need to remind people about yourself. Advertising an app is one of the ways to promote when launching a new app or rebranding an existing one. Unobtrusive ads leading to the app landing page will warm up interest and bring fame to the brand in the initial stages.

Things to Know Before Running Your First Campaign

Mobile advertising is becoming more promising and developing in recent years. For example, sales of mobile advertising on Facebook are over 50%. Let's look at the main key elements of a marketing strategy that make up effective mobile app download campaigns.

Choose your payment model and budget

The marketing campaign strategy determines the budget for payouts and the payment model (per installs, per clicks, or per views). Usually, the budget is set for a month. This makes it easier to track spending on expected goals (installs or events). Of course, advertisers can change the payout model based on performance.

Decide on ad design and format

A tempting call to action and an attractive design are what you need to create a catching app advertisement. Displaying ads on websites or mobile apps develops a kind of belief that the user really needs it and encourages them to buy the app. Don't neglect to create multiple variations of your ads, and be sure to run A/B testing to determine if it works.

Resources for displaying ads

Many websites and mobile apps provide a place to display app install ads. Such resources are also called 'publishers.' To become a publisher, you need to meet the criteria: ISPs, the number of users, connection type, etc.

Application installs tracking platforms

You can track the number of installs and find out from which source the most conversion comes with the integration of the attribution platform. Such platforms collect analytics according to many parameters that suit your strategy. The tracking platform does not directly engage users but is designed to analyze events and conversions. Based on it, you can build a flawless advertising campaign with a high cash flow.

Campaign Manager

You need a person who will manage the project, especially if you decide to build an omnichannel marketing campaign. The campaign manager is responsible for setting up, optimizing, and managing the launch of app install ads. They are also accountable for attracting users, and it's their task to build a strategy that satisfies the client.

6 Steps to Run a Winning App Install Campaign

Step 1. Calculating your budget for the project

The first step is to determine the cost of your advertising campaign. It is based on the number of installations you need. CPI (cost per install) is variable and does not have a single value. The price is influenced by factors such as the platform, where the ad is placed, and the category to which your app belongs.

You will have to spend some time collecting specific data. Based on them, you can calculate CPI using the formula below:

Total Budget = Goal x CPI

This formula will give you an idea of ​​your projected budget and how much you need to spend to be successful.

Step 2. Choosing an advertising display platform

The next step is to find the platforms where your target users are located. It can be on mobile platforms (Android or iOS) or the desktop version. You can use selected sites/apps for advertising or connect all network channels. The choice is yours and depends on the following criteria:

  • Type of your audience.
  • Type of applications.
  • Data about "working" channels.

Based on this information, you can build an optimal advertising model that will bring you a return on advertising costs (ROAS)

Step 3. Mobile app marketing

Mobile app marketing consists of a marketing funnel that a potential customer moves through. The user will go through the entire cycle of interaction: from the first acquaintance to the state of loyalty. Loyal users are the ones who will make purchases and recommend your app to others, which is the ultimate goal of mobile marketing.

Cycle of interaction

Let's take a look at several stages through which the client's journey will take place before the coveted download of the application.

Awareness. This is the initial stage in which the acquaintance with the brand takes place. You must connect with the customer on a deep level through clear explanations of your brand identity. At this point, you've already created an ideal customer persona based on mobile device choices, demographics, geolocation, interests, and so on. You already know what content they like and how to pique their interest on social media.

User acquisition. This is where a creative-driven strategy is built to get a jump start in the first weeks of an app launch and rank high in the app stores. Connect paid ads, optimize your App Store (ASO) or Google Play Store, and create video demos.

Retention. This is the most difficult stage because attracting a client is only 50% of success. You need to engage, retain and turn customers into repeat users. Restraining factors include personalized messaging, motivational push notifications, design and user experience, always being in touch (chatbots, artificial intelligence), and regular functional testing.

Step 4. Find your ideal target audience

The potential audience has specific needs that are satisfied by your mobile application. You must become a 'lifesaver' and solve their problems without overloading them with unnecessary information. Therefore, to search for an audience, you must define:

  • their preference for operating systems
  • their pain points and problems
  • what content they want to see
  • what graphics to use
  • which bloggers social networks like
  • tone and intonation

There are many tools on the market to help determine consumer behavioral factors. We will list the three that are used the most:

  • Facebook Audience Manager — in the statistics section, there is an Audience Insights tool that tracks people interested in your topics.
  • Google Analytics is a tool designed to analyze visitor behavior.
  • Twitter Audience Insights — provide information about the Twitter audience.

Step 5. Tips for creating effective app ads

To achieve the desired result in the advertising campaign of the application, the design of a clear call to action (CTA) and relevant images is important. Also, consider the following for effective mobile ad development:

  • Unique images. Attract with graphics unlike any other, so you can attract attention to your advertising banners.
  • Graphic display of benefits. Show your benefits through infographics or pictures that showcase your advantages, interactions, and convenience.
  • Optimization. Remember that your ad will be displayed on mobile devices with various screen resolutions, so you need to optimize your images for it.
  • Clean images without pixelation. Visual effects should only be used in high definition.
  • Reinforce loyalty through social proof. Awards plus star ratings are direct proof that you can be trusted. Social media reviews affect many consumers.
  • Test several options. This advice applies not only to the image and color you use but also to the call to action. You should have several options for motivating headlines that encourage users to click on the button. Test each of the options and choose the best one (or several).

Step 6. Promotion and analysis

After launching an advertisement for the application on one platform, don't stop there. Experiment with different channels. Analyze the results and use any promotional methods, even the ones you believe are unviable and re-create new advertising goals.

9 Great App Install Ad Examples

Let's get acquainted with the main platforms on which you can place the best mobile apps. Mobile app install ads best practices include all of the below-mentioned platforms if you choose to win over an audience. According to Statista, the global traffic of potential users of mobile applications is in social networks that can bring high conversion.

Google App Install Ads

The beauty of app advertising on Google is that you can create strategies and test creatives for your target audience. This helps improve efficiency through continuous testing, optimization, and editing. So you will remain in the spotlight among a demanding audience.

Google App

Facebook App Install Ads

You can claim your mobile app on Facebook. The main advantage of the platform is the reach factor and the choice of several goals, which makes it possible to both attract users and retain them. To create an advertisement based on the Facebook app install ads best practices, you need to be a Facebook user, install and set up a campaign, select a promoted application, and launch.

Instagram App Install Ads

Promoting your app on Instagram is also a great solution. Here you will find advantages such as an intuitive setup in Facebook Ads Manager. Thus, you set up your ads in the same way as Facebook or run two app campaigns at the same time.

YouTube App Install Ads

YouTube is one of the most promising platforms for app advertising. You can target specific audiences, analyze data, and use various advertising forms.

YouTube App

Twitter App Install Ads

Don't neglect a thought-sharing social network like Twitter to promote your product. Twitter has 330 million monthly users, and in addition, it has three main advantages: pay for performance (followers, click), and not for impressions; small advertising bill ($0.38); the ability to create a custom audience.

Pinterest App Install Ads

Pinterest is not just another social network where you can find cool interior ideas or street-style inspiration. There are already users who want to make a purchase here. This statement comes from Pinners who confessed that Pinterest encourages them to buy something more than other social networks. Pinterest itself does not abuse the trust of its customers, but places ads in an endless feed among other pins, making it “invisible”.

Snapchat App Install Ads

Snapchat is ideal for advertising gaming, entertainment, or educational applications. A key feature for advertisers is function targeting, which is more accurate than other social platforms. Here you can target users by locale data (GPS), demographic information, and interests.

Snapchat App

Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are a form of pop-up ads that appear on top of the screen of an app or website, covering the entire interface. However, you only have around 5 seconds before the person closes it, so try to hook their interest quickly. Benefits include: more display space, high click-through rates, customer growth, and conversions.

Banner Ads

Banner ads are a simple form of displaying ads on mobile devices. Banners increase brand awareness with minimal investment. They are scalable and adaptable to any screen, easy to create and place, and not intrusive or annoying.

Final Thoughts

Creating an app and hoping users find it somehow on their own is a bad strategy. Even if you developed the best app in your niche, you still require some form of advertisement, and app installs ads is one of the best mobile app campaigns. Using the Reteno solution, you can develop a marketing strategy to suit your business case. With unique images, catching CTA, convenient format, and popular platforms, you can significantly boost the number of users and conversion rates.

Vladyslav Pobyva


September 29, 2022

Vladyslav Pobyva


December 13, 2022

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