The iOS Developer’s Guide To Facebook Mobile Install Ads

How to get started with Facebook Mobile Install Ads to get more downloads for your iOS mobile app.

If you have a budget set aside for advertising, Facebook can be one of the most cost effective ways to advertise your mobile app. Mindvalley Mobile CEO Kshitij Minglani mentioned in his interview with us that Facebook ads "work brilliantly well" for them and other mobile app companies. So we want to show you how to get started, how to tune your ads and most importantly, how to track the results.

How Mobile Install Ads Differ From Sponsored Stories And Promoted Posts On Facebook

Before we get started, it is important to specify the difference between other types of ads and Mobile Install Ads. The difference is that Mobile Install Ads will provide an "Install Now" button at the bottom of the ad that will take a user to appropriate app store to download the app.

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An Introduction to Facebook Mobile Install Ads

This is a great video from the Facebook Developers YouTube Channel that explains how to create your first ad and other important information about the Mobile App Install Ads.

If you are looking for the Power Editor that he is talking about, go to your Facebook Homepage --> Ads Manager --> Power Editor.

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Creating An Effective Ad

Most people start with Facebook advertising and do not see any immediate results, so they just give up. But it takes time to tune a Facebook campaign, so do not get discouraged. Chances are very high that your first few campaigns will not do well.

The key is to start small and try a wide variety of things. Luckily, if you bid on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis, your bad ads will probably not get any clicks anyway and therefore will not cost you anything.

There are basically three parts to a Mobile Install Ad:

The important thing to remember when testing your ads is to test one thing at a time. You want to be sure that the ONE change you make is what is creating the positive or negative effect. If you change two things at once, how will you know which edit was responsible for the performance difference?

So start out by choosing a pretty wide demographic and one headline text that you think is good. Then begin testing the graphic.

Graphic (or Creative)

There have been studies that show that the graphic in your Facebook Ad is the most important element. So this is the element you want to tune first.

When testing your ads, create an ad group that uses the same headline and target demographic, but tests as many graphics as possible. Purchase some royalty free pictures from sites like Dreamstime or PhotoDune.

Another thing to note is that Facebook has a rule that they only allow text on 20% of the graphic. If you are going to add text or a call to action to your image, you will have to take this into account.

How do you measure 20%? It's actually pretty easy.

They basically divide the 600px X 360px picture up into 25 equal squares, in a 5X5 grid. There cannot be text in more than five of the squares. If you want a Photoshop template Jon Loomer has one that you can download for free. Just add your picture to the template, overlay some text, and count how many squares have text in them.

Here is an example of what the template looks like:

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Headline Text

When you have a few graphics that have performed well start optimizing the headline text. Like with the graphics, separate your tests into ad groups where every ad in each group uses the same creative and demographic target, but the only thing that changes is the headline text in each ad.

Be sure to tell the viewer why they should download the app. What is the bottom line feeling or result that someone will get by using your app. Then remember to include a call to action that tells the person to actually tap on the ad and download the app.

Targeting Parameters

Then you can start to tweak the audience you target. If you use the Power Editor, you can easily save various demographic settings and apply them to different ads. If you already have a Facebook Page for your app, be sure to look at the demographics for your page first to see who might be the best people to target with your ads.

As we mentioned above, start with a wide demographic, then start to narrow it down. A wide demographic will give a larger sample size in which to test your ads. Then when you know which text and creatives work best, you can get more focused with who you target.

Tracking Your Results

The video above gives you the two options for tracking your ads. You can either use the Facebook iOS SDK and see your results on the Facebook Ad Dashboard or use a third party Mobile Measurement Partner.

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What he does not mention is that you also want to have a baseline measurement before you start running your Facebook ads to be sure that your Facebook Ads are actually improving your results. Also, just like with testing the ad elements, be sure to test one ad platform at a time, or have a way to attribute the downloads to each individual ad channel if you do run ads on multiple platforms at once.


We hope that this post gives you everything you need to get started with Facebook Mobile App Install Ads. Facebook has actually done a really good job of helping mobile app developers market their apps and many developers have reported positive results.

When you find something that works, then scale it. You may consider moving to a CPM or Cost Per Thousand Impressions pricing model. Since, at that point, you know that your ads will get a lot of clicks and convert well, moving to CPM should be cheaper because it does not matter how many people click your ads within a thousand ad impressions. Be very careful with CPM though, you can lose money very quickly if you are wrong.

Remember to track your ads closely and keep testing to find out what works best. There may be times when your ads stop working and you need to change things up to make sure that you are getting the best return on your investment.

What are some of your tips for creating Facebook Ads? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: August 2013