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Ryan Pitylak has spent the past 14 years helping fast growing companies gain awareness through innovative advertising channels like Facebook. His team uses Nanigans Ad Engine to drive superior performance and ROI.
The Unique Influence team is extremely focused on driving ROI and conversions for our clients and as a result we work diligently to find settings and optimization techniques that drive performance on Facebook. The following results are from a test campaign Unique Influence conducted to better understand how to drive performance with Facebook mobile app install ad optimization. We recommend using these steps to build your own successful campaign.
Facebook provides a great platform for advertising mobile apps. Mobile app install ads in News Feed are ideal for generating awareness for new mobile apps and advanced targeting options allow you to find people that match your ideal customer. We’ve found we were better able to control costs and improve ROI with Nanigans’ Ad Engine platform.
Unique Influence has conducted several tests to determine whether CPC, CPM or oCPM bidding drives more installs at a given CPI. We’ve consistently found that oCPM bidding outperforms both CPC and CPM bidding styles. For Facebook mobile app advertising, optimizing for actions communicates to their ad platform that you’re interested in driving installs for your app. Without this optimization directive, the CPI can be much higher than CPC or CPM based bidding.
We were curious about the best settings for driving conversions at a targeted CPI (cost per install) so we performed a test using Nanigans’ Ad Engine platform and Facebooks’ Power Editor to see how the bidding style and oCPM action bid affected install volume and CPI. You can set oCPM action bids in the Pricing & Status section.
In Power Editor, click on “Optimized CPM” and “Manually configure my objectives and bids”. The only action for mobile app advertising is installs. Set an action bid based on your targeted CPI.
All ads were set-up to run with oCPM bidding. We started our campaign using the default $10 action bid. This initial bid is important because it’s the bid Facebook uses by default when you keep “Automatically optimize for actions” selected.
The $10 default bid may sound alarming because I’m sure you’re targeting a CPI lower than $10. Although, given Facebook’s auction bidding system, where you only pay more than the next closest person in the auction, you should expect to pay less than $10 per install. However, it’s important to realize how high your CPI’s might get if you let your ads run without keeping a close eye on them.
We ran a static set of ads for three weeks at the $10 action bid level. We wanted to control for ad fatigue, which happens at different points for different ads. During this test, we saw ad fatigue kick-in after two weeks. Pro tip alert: It’s important to rotate your ads regularly to improve the performance of your campaign. Use these ad creation tips to create high performance ads.
For the purposes of our test, we only used data after ad fatigue set in because we wanted control for the effects of ad fatigue. After the first 3 weeks of running at the $10 action bid level, we lowered the bids to $1.75 for a few days and subsequently lowered the bids down to $1.50.
We measured the CPI and average daily installs driven under each action bid targeting scenario.
During our first phase when we had an action bid of $10, we drove installs at $2.48. Although this CPI is higher than many apps we advertise, it’s an acceptable CPI for this client given the strict targeting and business nature of the app. After setting the action bid to $1.75, the average CPI lowered to $2.19. We set the bids to $1.50 and the CPI lowered again to $2.12.
Note: We did not see success at driving installs at our targeted CPI’s, but we did drive the CPI closer to our targeted number after we lowered the action bid.
Interestingly, volume did not lower significantly when we lowered the action bid to $1.75. The “Install Ratio” in the table shows the percentage of installs received during the $1.75 and $1.50 action bid time periods compared to the installs received during the $10 action bid time period. Install volume dropped by 19% when we lowered the action bid to $1.75 and 63% when we lowered it to $1.50. The takeaway here is that Facebook will try to optimize your placements to the best of their ability but will eventually move away from serving your ads if their system feels like they’ll never get close enough to your targeted action bid.
If you are looking to run campaigns for large-scale campaigns, a Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer like Nanigans can help. Nanigans’ solution measures predicts and optimizes ad spend for lifetime ROI. Advertisers benefit from Nanigans’ proprietary customizable, real time bidding algorithms, multivariate testing and robust real-time measurement and analytical tools. Nanigans’ Ad Engine platform allows you to acquire profitable customers by bidding and optimizing toward specific downstream goals and value such as app installs, tutorial completions, purchases and registrations.
It’s important to set the appropriate action bid for your Facebook ad campaign. If you set a bid that is too low you won’t receive many installs. If you leave it unset, you’ll run advertising that could end up well above your targeted CPI.