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    While using Facebook, from time to time we come across ads that urge us to download an app. A short description, a screenshot from a smartphone and an “Install Now” button. It would seem that there is no philosophy to this. However, it is clear that app promotion campaigns differ in some ways from outreach or sales campaigns. And our blog wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t cover each type of campaign. In this article, I will discuss how to effectively promote an app on Facebook, what metrics are worth monitoring and what to pay attention to when creating an advertising campaign.

    Why promote apps on Facebook?

    Promoting apps on Facebook can bring many benefits to app developers. Facebook, as one of the major social networks, boasts more than 2.9 billion active users. By promoting an app, we have a chance to reach a significant portion of the population! Thanks to ad targeting tools, we can choose the groups of users that we think will convert the most. Facebook is, above all, a huge marketing potential. In addition to campaigns that strictly promote the application, we can use those that will build its image or increase its popularity. Everything in one place, including analytical tools, planners and “human” support.

    How to create a campaign to promote an application on Facebook?

    The beginning is no different from creating other types of campaigns. In the ad manager, select the table icon on the left side of the window (when you hover over it, it will be signed as “Campaigns”), and then click on the green “+Create” button. This will result in a window where we will have to indicate the purpose of the campaign. We are interested in “Application promotion”. 

    Here it is worth mentioning that we have two paths to choose from. Automatic (Advantage+) and manual (App Ads). I will describe both types of campaign creation in more detail below. All you need to know at this stage is that the Advantage+ option gives us much fewer options in terms of campaign configuration, while reducing our workload. 

    Avantage+ application campaigns (semi-automatic configuration)

    When we choose this option, we are putting some responsibilities in the hands of the algorithms. Here, we won’t independently indicate advertising locations or target audience (except for language and location). The reports we will be able to view will include only simplified data, with no breakdowns of users by demographics or ad placement. 

    Campaign Settings

    The campaign wizard is simplified. The first stage, or campaign settings, include:

    1. Specific ad categories: this segment is of interest only if your application is related to credit (e.g., banking applications), employment (applications where we post job offers), real estate (real estate sales/rentals), and social or political topics. Then select the appropriate category. This is required, if we do not indicate the correct category, Facebook will simply reject our ads. Why were these categories singled out? Mainly in the framework of non-discrimination of social groups — campaigns that have these categories set, can not limit targeting to specific users (for example, by age or gender). In addition, political campaigns have a disclaimer in their content: “Paid for by…” 
    2. Campaign information: here we indicate the purchase type “Auction”, so the campaign will focus on acquiring conversions. The “Reach and Frequency” option does not support the purpose of the application, so selecting it in this case will be inappropriate. Lower down we can change the campaign type to manual settings, but since in this case we are working with the help of algorithms, we leave “Advantage+ app campaigns.” Once the campaign is enabled, of course, we have no way to change this option.
    3. Campaign for iOS 14 or later: by enabling this option, we want to promote the application, which is aimed at users of Apple devices. Ads will not display on iPhones running older than iOS 13.7, and will use SKAdNetwork, an interface that allows us to measure the number of events and conversion paths without revealing any user- or device-level data.

    And that’s it as far as top-level configurations are concerned. With manual configuration, there would be other options here, which I will describe when discussing manual campaigns.

    Ad set settings

    The second stage is the ad set settings. These are divided into the following segments:

    1. Application: the place where we indicate the application we want to promote. First we select its location (usually Google Play or AppStore), and then the specific app. It’s a good idea to connect the app to your advertising account before launching it, otherwise you’ll get a “no connection” message when searching, and it will affect the user activity data provided to the campaign.
    2. Audience group: we only have language and location to indicate, so when promoting the app to one market, we will not use multiple sets of ads in one campaign. Sometimes we can also indicate the age of the target audience, but it is usually set automatically based on the attributes of the app.
    3. Optimization settings: here we indicate the ad target and budget spending strategy The purpose of advertising is typically application installations. It is also possible to get specific actions in the app, but for this we must have implemented Pixel and properly implemented events. Below, we can set the maximum rate of obtaining a conversion (installation or event) – however, be aware that too low a rate will limit or completely deprive us of the desired results.
    4. Budget and Schedule: a segment present in every type of campaign. Here we set the budget (daily or total) and the schedule for displaying ads.

    Ad settings

    At the very end, you should set the ads. Given that we can’t edit target groups or placements here, ads are the main element whose different variations are worth testing. By creating several types of ads, differing, for example, in text or format (photo, video, carousel), after some time we will find the creation that brings the best results. But how to create an ad, and what do we need? According to the scheme adopted above, we have several windows to complete:

    1. Identity: here we complete everything instinctively. We indicate our fan page, our Instagram account, and the app (can be autocomplete).
    2. Advertising configuration: when promoting an app, we do not select the catalog as the source of advertising material. We will always indicate manual upload to upload images or videos ourselves, which we will later use in creating the ad. 
    3. Advertising material: a standard field present when creating any type of campaign. It is responsible for the content of our advertisement. This is where we indicate which image or video we want to use, set the text, headline, and call to action to be used in the ad. Good practices for creating a Facebook ad are described in another article
    4. Destination: here, we indicate where we want recipients to be directed when they click on the ad. It can be an application or a specific place in it.

    When all the fields are completed, we can publish our campaign. In the description, I intentionally omitted some fields, such as ad names or languages, because we complete them instinctively.

    Application ads (manual configuration)

    If you decide to go the classic route, more often used by marketing agencies, you will encounter additional options. Since I described some functions above, here I will only mention the additions and differences, between the semi-automatic and manual wizard.

    Campaign settings

    In the first step, in addition to the options described in the passage about Advantage+, we have two additional “windows”:

    1. A/B Test: if we choose to enable this option, we can test ads with different creatives, audiences, and placements. This is an extensive topic, which we described in another article 
    2. Advantage campaign budget: even when creating campaigns manually, we can give some tasks to the algorithms. This option will cause the campaign budget to be distributed among sets of ads based on the likelihood of better results. In addition to this option, downstream we have the option to use other types of Advantage optimization.

    Ad set settings

    There are also differences when creating an advertising set There appears the ability to upload dynamic ad material (images, headlines and text, which Facebook will “mix” on its own to create the most effective ad) and to use product catalog (which we don’t usually use in app campaigns). 

    Much more extensive is the Audience Group field. More ad targeting options, such as interests or behaviors, come in, allowing you to reach more specific users.

    Additionally, at this stage, we can choose where our ads are displayed. We can choose from a mass of placements, divided into platforms and categories. Of course, we can leave this task to the algorithms, but it’s worth testing different layouts ourselves (and don’t give up on the “News” placement – it’s usually the main source of conversions!).

    Ad settings

    The advertisements’ creator differs only in the Monitoring segment, which is located at the very bottom of the page. After pointing to the appropriate Pixel (provided it is properly configured), we can track the site events that will follow the user’s interaction with the ad.


    If you want to gain additional users for your application, it’s definitely worth reaching out to Facebook campaigns. However, there are an inch of variables to consider when setting up your campaign. Incorrectly chosen placements, target groups or budgets will make the results unsatisfactory. The creation of an app promotion campaign itself from the “technical” side is not complicated and only at some stages differs from campaigns that generate traffic or reach. However, it is definitely different to plan it, select creatives or configure events in Pixel.

    Let's talk!

    Patryk Żakowicz
    Patryk Żakowicz

    Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.