There are several questions I get asked when advertisers or businesses are thinking about starting new mobile app campaigns. Just like paid search, it’s important to start your campaigns with a goal in order to measure value and success. Creating your mobile app strategy can be overwhelming. However, these 4 steps should help you when planning your strategy.

Feeling overwhelmed
Real footage of a marketer trying to understand their app strategy.

1. Know your intended audience

Who is more likely to download your app and regularly use it? You might already have an idea of who your ideal audience is; however, you will likely be surprised once you dive into your data. Knowing your audience can help you decide which networks you should target. If you don’t know who your ideal audience is, no worries, you can easily find out by running campaigns through various networks. Testing is key.

Facebook Audience Insights

2. Understand your CPI (Cost per Install) goal

To answer this question, you need to know what the lifetime value (LTV) of a user is to you. Is the value of an Android user different than an iOS user? Knowing your LTV can help decide marketing budgets, forecasting, and how much you should pay to acquire a new user.  Therefore, it’s important to make sure your LTV is greater than your CPI for you to gain revenue.

AdWords target CPA

You can still run app campaigns without knowing your LTV, however, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • Be aware the amount you spend may be unprofitable. If this is the first time advertising for your app, you will want to first concentrate on generating volume, then concentrate on efficiency.
  • Your CPI may be higher than you expected. To grow you will need to test your CPI threshold, this will help you test and understand how much volume is available. Once you start concentrating on efficiencies this number will start to come down.
  • Set an end date. By this end date, you should be able to gauge how much an acquired user is worth, and your CPI goal.

3. KPI’s, KPI’s, KPI’s

CPI is only one of many KPI’s (key performance indicators) you need to keep an eye on. Low conversion rates can negatively impact your organic ranking in the app stores. It’s important to regularly check app store and campaign metrics to understand how your marketing efforts are assisting or possibly hurting your app ranking. It’s also important to know if the networks you’re using are cost effective when it comes to retention rates. How often are users who download your app from Facebook opening your app and using it? Retention rate lets you know how active and loyal users are and if networks are cost effective. It’s always cheaper to keep users rather than to acquire new ones.

We can’t forget about the importance of accurately tracking installs, it’s another important KPI that will let you know the health of your campaign.  There are several different companies that can help you track installs. If you’re just starting out in AdWords, I’d recommend Firebase, an Analytics tool from Google. However, various networks have their own install tracking methods, but they cannot give you insights into retention rates.

Google Firebase

4. Determine which networks to use

If you’re just starting, it’s important to test as many different networks as possible. You can create Universal App campaigns (UAC) within AdWords. UAC’s are easy to set up, all you need is an AdWords account, CPI goal, and a few sentences for ad copy. AdWords takes care of showing your ad in front of who they believe will be the best user on Search, Google Display network and YouTube. You can read more here about how to set up UAC’s.

Creating Universal App campaigns

With Facebook, you can create install campaigns and target potential users based on behaviors, interests, demographics, or site visitors. You could also try creating your campaigns without any audience targets to help you understand and identify your audience. Be sure to properly install your Facebook pixel to track installs and create Lookalike audiences in the future. You can also opt your campaigns into Instagram, however, I would only recommend opting into this network if your audience demographic tends to be younger and you can accept the possibility of costly CPI’s.

Facebook app campaigns

If you already know iOS users are more valuable to your business, then without a doubt you should run campaigns on Apple Search Ads. Like UAC campaigns, Apple Search Ads can be easy to set up, however, you will need to put more thought into your campaign structure since Apple does run on keywords. You can check out this post to learn how to set up Apple Search Ads.

Creating Apple ads

Closing Thoughts

With a variety of network options and the ability to customize your audience targeting, it can be easy to set up app campaigns. The hard part is coming up with your goals and understanding how your marketing efforts affect the whole ecosystem of your app’s success. The steps above should point you in the right direction. Still having trouble? Don’t be like Urkel, Hanapin can help define your app strategy.