Everything You Need to Know About Promoting Your App on Facebook Ads

Whether you’ve built a standalone app with the goal of being the next candy crush or an app that’s meant to bolster what your business already sells, promoting your app can be difficult. Not only do you have to get it in front of your target audience (which is particularly difficult for apps that don’t exist along a coinciding business, like Snapchat), but you also have to show users the value of the app, convince them to download, and then keep them engaged.

There’s a little different steps you can take to help increase app installs, engagement, and in-app purchases, but Facebook Ads (and Instagram Ads by extension) is a highly-effective quick fix that can help you accomplish all of these goals.

In this post, you’ll learn about the most important techniques and strategies you need to be successful when promoting your app on Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads.

Target Mobile Only & Get Specific

You’re going to be significantly more successful at driving app installs, engagement, and in-app purchases when you run mobile-only campaigns. This makes sense; users are much more likely to download apps when they’re on mobile instead of desktop, because it takes only a few clicks instead of needing to find their phone, locate the app in the app store, and then download. That’s a lot of steps most users aren’t willing to take.

mobile app installs Facebook Ads

You can also take this targeting a step further, choosing to show your ads to users who own specific devices. Have an app that’s only available for the two most recent versions of Apple devices? You can show ads to users who only have compatible iPhones and iPads. The more relevant your ad is to the user seeing it, the more successful you’ll be.

promoting your app on Facebook Ads

Clearly Demonstrate Value

Most users already have phones full of pictures, music, and, you guessed it, a crap ton of other mobile apps. In order to take up a little more of that sliver of remaining space, you need to tell them why they should download and use your app. This means demonstrating value in a clear way, and showing them why they should use the app in addition to or instead of your site.

What exactly makes it different from your desktop site or what they can find there, aside from the fact that it’s on mobile? Is it easier to use? Do they get one-click checkout or exclusive sales? Or are there additional features, like style guides, clothing sizes, or more?

The ad above for the McDonalds app, for example, concisely explains the benefits of downloading the app. It’s the only way to order from Mickey D’s in advance, so that you can pick it up without the wait. It’s simple, but it’s a big benefit, and they hone in on it quickly.

Use Video to Demonstrate Usage

In many cases, the best way to demonstrate value, catch users’ interest, and show them how easy and efficient the app is to use is to show users a video.

The video ad below from Housecall Pro is a fantastic example of what you should be doing in videos that are designed for promoting your app on Facebook Ads.

This includes:
  • Showing an image of your app in mock-up form, so that users can see how the display will look on their phones.
  • Demonstrating how the app will actually work
  • Highlighting the most important benefits of the app and explaining why users should download it

These videos can be short, just like the example above (which is only 9 seconds), and it doesn’t need to be anything exceptionally technical. It just needs to look clean and hit the points detailed above. Shakr can help with that, giving you easy-to-use video templates that can help you create a video similar to this in five minutes or less. You can take a look at some of our video templates here.

Use Retargeting to Increase Engagement & In-App Purchases

Mobile app installs is an official objective for Facebook Ads, but hope isn’t lost if you just want to increase engagement or in-app purchases.

The best way to do this is to utilize retargeting, showing ads to users who have already downloaded your app or interacted with it in some way.

Utilizing the SDK (which works like Facebook’s tracking pixel but for your mobile app), you can create custom audiences of users based on how they’ve interacted with your app. By getting really specific, you can create highly targeted campaigns designed to trigger highly specific actions.

Strategies include:

  • Targeting users who downloaded the app but haven’t opened it in a while with a re-enegament campaign designed to just get them using it again. To do this, choose “exclude users who have opened the app in the past x days.”
  • Targeting your most active users or your highest spenders with new offers, including new features first.
  • Targeting users who have taken certain actions on your app, like added to your cart (but then didn’t checkout, which can be added through the exclude section), those who viewed a certain page, or those who completed a certain task. You can use re-engagement campaigns to keep them coming back and using relevant offers to keep them spending.

 promoting your app on Facebook Ads

Go In Ready to Spend

If you’ve been running ad campaigns sending traffic to your site and you’ve only been paying $0.12 per link click, you’ll be a little surprised when you run your mobile app install campaigns. Mobile app install campaigns often cost significantly more than link clicks, impressions, or even lead gen ads, typically costing more than $1 per action, and according to AdEspresso, sometimes costing up to almost $6.

For reference, Apple devices (barring the iPod) are the most expensive placements, costing up to almost $6 in Q4 for iPads and around $3.50 for iPhones. This doesn’t mean that targeting Apple users isn’t worth it; instead, they may be your target audience. You just need to be aware going in that costs will likely be higher than other campaigns, for mobile app installs in general but especially those campaigns with Apple users.


Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads are exceptionally effective when you’re looking to increase app installs or in-app purchases. While it is a financial investment, it’s also one that will yield a lot of results very quickly, especially if you’re using the strategies above.

Need some help creating high quality videos to promote your app? Check out Shakr’s free video templates and start your free trial today.






Ana Gotter is a business writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at anagotter.com.

2 comments On Everything You Need to Know About Promoting Your App on Facebook Ads

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to the Shakr Video Marketing Blog

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Shakr.

You have Successfully Subscribed!