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Facebook Mobile Advertising: 8 Best Practices By Ad Type

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

As the top smartphone app of 2013, Facebook mobile continues to dominate in the downloads department. Considering that 50% of mobile phone users are using mobile as their primary Internet source, and 80% of mobile time is spent in apps, the social network’s laser focus on mobile devices isn’t likely to disappear any time soon. We’ve identified mobile advertising as an immense growth opportunity for performance marketers who are willing to take the plunge.

Here’s how you can do it.

Mobile App Ads for Engagement and Conversion

Action Items:

  • Customize call to action buttons based on what user activity you’re encouraging (downloads, shopping, gameplay, etc)
  • Direct users to a specific section of your app (could be a sale page or a playlist)
  • Target your current user base via custom audience functionality
  • Entice people who haven’t downloaded your app to do so

Set your campaign goals.

Best Practices:

1. Define what distinguishes your brand from the competition. For example, if you’re a financial services company, call out lower fees, online access, 24/7 customer service and higher APRs in the copy. Use language that is in line with your company’s identity.

2. Establish a budget goal for your campaign. If you’re just beginning to test engagement ads, it’s best to focus on one of two factors. Do you want to aim for a lower CPA or a higher ROI? Once you get some actionable data, you can shift your focus to maximizing volume.

3. A/B test your ads. Create two ads with identical images but different text and find out which performs better. If you’re a yoga studio, run a campaign with photos of young people vs. adults holding poses. If you’re running a sale, include two different kinds of numbers in your copy and study which performs better — hours left or percentages off? Layer text over an image, use a patterned background, zoom in on objects; get creative.

4. Avoid stock photo syndrome. Everyone’s seen the men in suits shaking hands, the hammock on the beach and the plate of food. Use freelance photographers, royalty-free image libraries like Flickr, or staff crowdsourcing whenever you can. Because mobile ads can only appear in the Facebook newsfeed, you’ll want yours to look like they belong nestled among friend and family status updates.

Mobile App Install Ads

Action Items:

  • Customize ad messaging using image and video creative
  • Target to Android or iOS platforms and versions, as well as specific devices (tablets, smartphones and iPods), right down to WiFi-only capability
  • Allow people to install your app immediately via the Apple App Store or Google Play
  • Avoid marketing to people who have already installed your app through Android or iOS

Best Practices:

Example of an app install ad. 1. Get some buzz going before you start your mobile app campaign. Create a Facebook Page and build up a following, post to Twitter and Instagram, schedule a press release and/or run a preliminary ad campaign to boost awareness (see above) so people will recognize your product before they are encouraged to install it.

2. Verticals tend to adopt creative trends that make ads look similar across competitors (ex: travel photos involving palm trees, gaming ads showing the app on a phone screen). Try to distinguish yourself from the pack by playing around with color, size, placement and calls to action. Base your creative around your audience. For example, if you’re a financial services company targeting SMBs, use pictures of bakeries, house cleaners and personal trainers so viewers will think, “That could be me using this technology,” or “That looks like my business.”

3. Appeal to emotion. If your game is meant to be relaxing, make your ad a reflection of that mood by picking a peaceful image and soothing language. If you’re appealing to travelers, put them in the middle of an exciting trip they might book with your app; use images that display actions or adventures and provide colorful descriptions.

4. Test away! Run at least five ads and take a close look at how they’re performing in terms of CTR and install rate. Mobile campaigns tend to have a low action rate, so you’ll need to be patient in order to get sufficient, actionable data. You can always pause underperforming ads and swap in new ones if you’d like to get an additional point of comparison.

Facebook is moving from a tipping point where mobile usage will soon eclipse desktop. Find out the latest strategies and approaches on how to improve your Facebook advertising campaigns for mobile with our free eBook, Mobile Advertising in a Multichannel World.

Download our Mobile eBook



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