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7 Ways to Improve Your Facebook Mobile Ad CTRs

Written by: Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing

Mobile app marketers are quickly recognizing the power of Facebook’s mobile News Feed to power app discovery and distribution. The social network uniquely combines unparalleled reach (over 680 Million mobile users), with rich targeting data and ad units designed specifically for driving mobile app downloads. With these Facebook mobile ads units, marketers with apps and games of all sizes across any category have the opportunity to meet their volume and distribution goals.

As mobile app marketers everywhere shift their dollars to Facebook, they increasingly want to know what makes users click? Not surprisingly, they have discovered that creative is one of the most important ingredients for running a successful Facebook mobile campaign. But which creatives really work best on mobile? Here at Nanigans we manage billions of Facebook mobile ad impressions and through our internal data have identified some key trends. Below are 7 best practices for improving your Facebook mobile ad CTRs.

1. Images engage.

As with any other successful and effective ad, it all starts with captivating the user’s attention. Beautifully polished images of products or people can be presented in a variety of ways to grab the audience’s attention and, most importantly, get them to download the app.

In this Facebook mobile ad, Poshmark presents a photo grid gallery featuring high quality product images to capture viewer interest.

poshmark mobile ad

We’ve found that in game screenshots featured within a mobile device drive a high response. In this ad creative for Hay Day, users can preview the exciting moments in the game.


2. Real people and things.

Intimacy and real emotional involvement are the keys to driving a direct response that can really help you achieve your marketing goals. Our data has shown that real people, real situations and real objects drive higher CTR’s. It also helps to show the app in a smartphone or tablet to make it clear that you’re advertising a mobile application.

This mobile ad for Glide is a great example as it features a photo of a woman in the targeted demographic using the app on her smartphone.

Glide Mobile Ad

3. Brighter is Better.

Using bright colors and images in your ads can add a lot of visual interest. They perform best for all types of ads and age groups. Using contrasting colors and saturation draw focus to certain areas of the images such as the app title or the CTA button. Ads that use darker colors and or don’t have enough color (too blah) typically have much lower CTRs

The viewers eyes are drawn to the brightly colored circles highlighting the app title and the fire engine red Free! CTA in the ad below.

Bingo Run

4. Provide a Compelling CTA.

A call-to-action (CTA) is very important, because it is your best chance at interaction. Effective CTA’s give users a sense of what the app is all about and should also resonate with the people who you are targeting. We recommend including more than one CTA to make your ad stand out against other content in the New Feed.

We’ve found that using bar or a button with descriptions such as “Free”, “Play Now”, “Free App” “Download Now” generates a sense of urgency and entices users to click on the ad. Including the term “free” is a no-brainer as it has universal appeal regardless of the app or its target market. We also advise our customers to include a clear incentive in the first 90 characters of their ad copy.

CTA’s are continuing to evolve with messaging increasingly focused on what the app actually does and highlighting the social and competitive aspects. For example, a shopping app could entice users with “Shop the Look” or “Update Your Style.” A game developer could play on gamers ‘ competitiveness with “See How Your Friends are Battling” or pose a challenge to “Defend Your Kingdom”.


5. Keep it Simple.

It’s always a good idea to keep ads simple, but on smaller screens, keep it even more simple. Mobile ads are compact and have a shorter window of time to capture viewer attention. If a user doesn’t understand a mobile ad within two seconds, the messaging needs to be simplified.

This mobile ad for Eat24 below clearly tells what the app does and avoids using any confusing language or complicated images.

eat24 mobile ad

6. Location. Location. Location.

Advertisers have been excited by the prospect of incorporating location data to reach people where they work, live and play. A rising number of Facebook marketers are integrating location into their mobile campaigns. By leveraging the full context around a customer’ location such as language, country, city, state, town, zip, advertisers can deliver a more personalized message that drives a higher response. Below are some examples:

• A gaming developer featured a French flag in an in-game screenshot
• A shopping app featured their fashions with the Boston skyline in the background
• A travel app featured images of tropical destinations to people in cold weather locations

7. Always be Testing.

Fresh creative is effective for combating viewer fatigue. The more targeted you are, the quicker people will have seen your ad and ignore it. Facebook mobile users have a voracious appetite for creative so we recommend testing at least five new ads each week.

Leading game developer, Supercell, tested a variety of ad creative for its Clash of Clans epic combat strategy game for iPhone and iPad.

Initial ad creative showed a character from the game coupled with a screenshot of the app and a CTA to download the app.


A second ad creative highlighted images of the main characters with a CTA challenging users to “Build Your Army!”


A third ad creative shows real people playing the game with a CTA that played up the social aspect of the game “See Who Your Friends Are Battling?”


By constantly testing new layouts and styles, you can get a sense of what works and resonates with different types of targeted audiences. Facebook is continuing to evolve its mobile ad units and strategy so it’s important for advertisers to learn as much as they can now to stay ahead of the curve.

Pretty simple right? It’s important for advertisers to remember that Facebook mobile app users are using the app to check in on their social lives, which means that ads have to be captivating in order to garner interest and clicks. In addition, the smaller screen of a mobile device will force Facebook advertisers, to think small, concise and compelling which is why it’s important to keep these 7 creative best practices top of mind. Whether you are new to Facebook or a seasoned pro, Facebook mobile ads are constantly changing so it’s essential to stay informed about the nuances and subsequent best practices that come along with new opportunities.

Interested in finding out how Nanigans ROI-based advertising solution for Facebook can work for your company? Contact us today!

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