Glenn Kiladis is VP, New Market & Media Solutions at Fiksu.
In the past year, Facebook's mobile app install ads have exploded in popularity.
They were a part of a dramatic turnaround at the social giant, which grew its mobile share of revenue from 14 percent to 60 percent over 18 months.
Part of the reason for that growth is the ongoing demand for effective sources of new high-value users among app publishers.
Game app marketers have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to app marketing, constantly seeking out and testing new channels. They also put a real emphasis on lifetime value: unlike brands, game publishers aren't interested in engagements or reach.
Instead, they're completely focused on metrics like DARPU or DARPPU - daily average revenue per user or per purchasing user.
Because of their focus on performance metrics, games have been among the heaviest users of the new Facebook app ads.
Facebook delivers conversions and purchasing users at significantly higher rates than other channels
Fiksu studied the performance of these ad units across a large sample of games and found that when it comes to long term value, Facebook is among the best ad channels in the industry.
In the place to be
Fiksu studied over 8 million downloads across over 120 apps to analyze user acquisition costs.
The analysis shows that Facebook delivers conversions and purchasing users at significantly higher rates than other channels. Cost per purchasing user, a key ROI metric, is significantly lower than other mobile media sources.
It's important to note that if measured on raw media costs, Facebook is not the cheapest: it is significantly more expensive on a cost per click basis than many ad networks.
However, it is clearly the most productive source for generating ROI.
Not automatic for the people
While many advertisers new to Facebook see great results right off the bat, there's often an unpleasant surprise waiting for them: without ongoing optimization and management, results may start to taper off after a relatively short time.
In addition, with no basis for comparison, advertisers can't know if their good results on Facebook could be even better.
The key to reaching and maintaining the absolute best results is programmatic campaign management tools. From automatically testing thousands or hundreds of thousands of targeting combinations, to systematically expanding keyword selection, to managing bidding and budgets in real time, programmatic tools can elevate player acquisition results and help maintain campaign performance even as it scales up.
Here's an example of how a programmatically managed campaign differs from a manually run campaign.
Each colored band represents one campaign in a mobile game's Facebook marketing efforts, and the height represents how much budget is allocated to each.
On the left, a manually managed campaign shows a few major inflection points where bids and budgets were adjusted based on results. Overall CPIs in that time period were $0.95.
On the right, programmatic dynamic bidding took the same campaigns for the same app and began optimizing bids and budgets in real time. Constant fluctuations and dramatic changes in balance look chaotic - but overall CPIs for that period were $0.74, a 22 percent reduction in costs.
The complete picture
There's much more that goes into success with Facebook app install ads.
The ebook User Acquisition for Mobile Games on Facebook provides more detail, including:
• Detailed results from the study
• Tips on how to generate performance improvements of 60% or more
• Three case studies illustrating how Facebook can cost effectively generate high-quality players in volume
With the right tools and tactics, Facebook has massive potential for delivering high-quality players for mobile game publishers. For games and other apps alike, investing in the right tools is the key to unlocking that potential.