Marketing & Metrics

3 Ways to Grow Your Mobile App Startup on Facebook

For mobile app developers with an appetite for growth, mobile user acquisition has to be as much of a focus as product and monetization strategy. Already-crowded app marketplaces are becoming even more jam packed and that’s only accelerating as revenues grow 25%+ YoY. The challenge to stand out is even more intense in highly profitable categories like gaming.

To grow, mobile app publishers are becoming more disciplined and innovative in the way they approach paid user acquisition. Many are finding that there is no better platform for scalable and efficient user acquisition today than Facebook. As a result, the network is capturing the majority of ad spend and that is expected to accelerate through 2019.

Trends in Facebook UA

Despite the massive amounts of money being poured into Facebook’s ad platform, it is still an under-exploited channel for one simple reason: most advertisers are not sufficiently sophisticated in their strategies for success.

Often, advertisers find one tactic or approach that works up to a certain point for their business and when they experience declining returns on investment, they assume they’ve maxed out an audience or they invest more heavily in another channel.

The key to maximizing value on Facebook is to understand all the available tactics and use them in the right combination. If you do that, there is almost no limit to the scale and efficiency you can achieve.

With that in mind, here are the three major things to consider for accelerating UA efficiently.

Focus on Video

It feels like we’ve been saying this for a couple of years now, but video is king for Facebook ads. Fortunately, the barriers for creating quality videos have never been so low. 3rd party services like Shakr or getpromo  make creation quick and easy so you can test, optimize and iterate as needed. Facebook’s formats like Collections and Canvas Ads also make designing the right ads intuitive and are optimized for one-tap app downloads to maximize conversion.

Remember, Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform, but copy and headlines are rendered differently across the two networks. So when you design your video, make sure they can stand alone. If they rely on context from your headline or text on Facebook, it might not make sense on Instagram and vice versa. 

No Substitute for the Right Seed Audience

Facebook’s optimization algorithms have been a game changer for advertisers in every category. The sheer scale of audience and diversity in data signals that it is able to analyze and correlate to specific behaviors make it incredibly efficient at predicting who in a target audience is most likely to take a desired action for your campaign.

However, their algorithm has one major limiting factor – your seed audience. The key to unlocking the real power of Facebook’s lookalike modeling is starting with a small, qualified audience and scaling up as you collect data against a seasoned Facebook pixel.  Narrowly target your core audience with a combination of precise interest targeting (e.g specific game titles, not broad interests like “puzzle games”) and your highest value users. This requires a relatively slow start to your UA efforts, but once you’ve accrued a sufficiently rich seed audience you can scale extremely fast using Facebook Lookalike audiences paired with App Event Optimization

Maximize Ad Budgets

When you realize you have cracked the nut for acquiring high value users profitably, the sky is your limit. Every dollar you can muster should be spend acquiring users if it remains profitable. It’s imperative that you have insight into your average CLV so that you know that you’re profitable to begin with. Then, you’ll need access to capital so that you can maximize your opportunity.

Because payouts from the app stores may require a longer-than-convenient lead time, you might want to get creative. On-demand capital companies like Braavo connect directly to your analytics to calculate customer lifetime value and return on ad spend on your behalf. Then when the opportunity presents itself, funds are made available to scale your ads and maximize profits without diluting your business.


As the app marketplace matures, the blueprint for success evolves along with it. Today’s reality is that efficient user acquisition is as critical to a mobile app publisher’s success as a great product and effective monetization strategy and there is no bigger opportunity for UA than on Facebook.



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