Biz Tips: How To Save Money on Social Media App Promotion?

Biz Tips: How To Save Money on Social Media App Promotion?


How To Save Money on Social Media App Promotion?

In 2020, apps will generate 188.9 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising. The latest Tune research reveals the clear correlation between paid and organic installs: paid installs boost organic installs by at least 1.5 times.

Social media is a great tool for cost-savvy user acquisition, building a community around the app, and staying in touch with users. In this article we’ll dive deeper into free and paid app promotion methods via social media. We’ll unveil the roadmap for creating successful ad campaigns and sort out key performance metrics you should keep track of to drive more installs.

With more than 3.8 million apps on Google Play and 2.4 million on App Store, your app doesn’t stand a chance of getting users if you don’t promote your app beforehand. Involving people in the app development process, sharing sneak peeks, and interacting in the same communities as your target users, will help to create a buzz around your app.

Here’s a checklist of what you need to get done before promoting your app on social media:

Social media is an incredibly effective promotional platform if approached wisely. If somebody with a large follower base shares or retweets your content, it can result in a wave of exposure for your app.

With the constantly growing number of users on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, not using social media for mobile app promotion would be a grave mistake.

Сreate Facebook group

As the industry insider, you can share relevant stats, useful tips and tricks on app development & promotion on your personal page or create a Facebook group for your app. Ask for user feedback and give them free promo codes to try it out. Discuss current features, bug fixes, future updates and value their opinion. You can build great relationships with other app owners which might present the opportunity to cross promote each other’s apps without spending a cent.
For example after creating Facebook page for Apus, the leading utility app in China, it hit 5 mln followers after 2 years.

Join niche related communities

Facebook and Linkedin groups gather very engaged audience, who share, involve and comment. If you’re active within your industry’s forums and groups, you can get highly targeted traffic for zero budget.
It takes time and you’ll have to establish yourself as an expert.
Here’s a list of the most popular app development & promotion forums:

Encourage User-Generated Content

According to Nielsen study, 83% of customers listen to recommendations — and only 33% listen to ads.

Show how your app can impact user’s daily life, encourage photo and video shares that highlight your app’s practical benefits and give rewards for the most active users.

Connect with the industry influencers on Twitter

Building valuable connections with influential people can increase the amount of your app downloads & active users.

According to Twitter report, almost 40% of users have made a purchase at the direct recommendation of an influencer. If its a celebrity, be prepared to grab the attention of a wider audience rather than tapping into a very specific niche. If you reach top industry experts who review apps from your category, eg. Venturebeat, Buzzfeed, Entrepreneur etc whose covered topics match your app idea, you can get featured for free.

A thorough research is very important here: if the influencer doesn’t align with your app target audience, you’ll see a bunch of new app users who will undoubtedly churn.

Tips to use:


Find trending and relevant hashtags on Facebook and Twitter on
Create personalized hashtag, so your audience can better consume what you post and find all your posts by clicking on a hashtag.

Mix personalized, relevant and popular hashtags to boost your app visibility, but try to use not more than 4–5 of them.


Create additional buzz around your app with giveaways and contests. Encourage users to download your app for chance of winning free app subscription, gift cards, in-app bonuses or credits to purchase new app features. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels to broadcast your contest.

Key Metrics for Social Media Promotion

Engagement — track likes, shares and comments to see how many people interact with your posts in social media and adjust your content strategy accordingly.
Mentions — monitor everything said about your app on Facebook or use multichannel mention tracking tool to get notified when people are talking about your app.
Amplification Rate will help you to measure the real active engagement of users with your social media pages. Take the number of times your content was shared during your reporting period and divide that number by your total number of followers (or Page Likes). Multiply that number by 100 to get your amplification rate as a percentage.

Facebook Ads Aimed at App Installs

With more users accessing Facebook from mobile devices each day, it is the right place for app promotion. If you’re looking for a guide on how to run ads on this platform to drive more app installs — there’s plenty of information on that at Facebook for developers page. To cut the long story short — these are the things you should do:

1. Create your Facebook App ID
2. Add the Facebook SDK
3. Add app events to track the performance of your campaign

Choose an example app which is similar to yours. This will help you determine basic parameters to log, but you’re always free to add custom events you need to keep track of.

Once you’ve done configuring events — log into App Ads Helper and check whether your app is registered and ready for promotion.

Things to Keep in Mind

Audience. Audience parameters largely impact your ad reach. Facebook recommends starting an ad campaign with an audience of at least 100K+, otherwise your reach will be limited and you might not get enough conversions, or your CPC will be too high.

Targeting. Facebook provides quite a few targeting options for ads to drive app installs. You can target users based on mobile apps the user has interacted with, device type, OS version. You can also show your ads only to people connected to WiFi and filter the audience by network connection speed.

Placements. By choosing Automatic placement you’ll let Facebook determine the options with regard to the real device location.

Budget & Schedule. The platform can optimize ads for app install or clicks. If you choose the former, Facebook will try to reach the people who’re more likely to install apps than others.

Bid strategy

Last, but not least, set up your bid strategy. The lower the bid — the more control over the ad campaign you’ll get in therms of budget. On the other hand, your ads will reach fewer people, as your reach will be limited. Alternatively, you can use Automatic bid. In this case Facebook will set the bid on your behalf.

Quick Guide to Facebook Ad Design

If you’re not sure how to approach ad design for your Facebook creatives you can find plenty of information in Facebook Ads Guide. Here are a few takeaways:

  • Your ads should show a positive emotion.
  • Include screenshots from your app.
  • Use colors that evoke emotions.
  • 20% Text-to-Visual Rule dictates that text on ads ran across Facebook and Instagram should constitute not more than 20% of the ad space.
  • For carousel ads, use continuing images
  • Make the first few seconds of your video the most catchy. Consider using vertical video for your ads to take up a larger portion of the screen.
  • Include your logo at the beginning.
  • Limit your video to 30 sec.

Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are managed through Facebook Ads platform, so the guidelines for ads are pretty much the same.

Instagram offers 4 main ad formats:

Video Ads: videos of up to 60 seconds long that come with a good power of sight, motion, and sound.

Stories: Insta Stories are videos and photo streams that are automatically erased in 24 hours upon upload. By choosing this ad format you’ll insert your ads (image or video up to 15 sec) in between user generated content.

Image Ads: the traditional ads to tell your app’s story through beautifully crafted imagery.

Carousel Ads: This ad type allows you to use multiple images and a CTA button which can link to your website or profile on social media.

NB! If you already have a well-established audience you can use Facebook Pixel to run retargeting campaigns on Instagram and Facebook to your users.

Twitter Promotion

Twitter’s own stats show that more than 80% of its users live on mobile and are actively searching for apps to download.

Twitter Cards allow users to download an app directly from the tweet as well as encourage people to re-engage with your app. All you need to do is to include these footer tags in your markup. When the copy of a tweet includes any app content a user will see a ‘Get the App’ link to download the app directly.

Here’s a short video showing how to setup your ad campaign on Twitter:

Key Metrics in Paid App Promotion

The number of installs and install rate are the most important metrics for user acquisition — it’s the easiest way to tell if your app is something that people find valuable, and therefore has a shot at being successful. However, from the perspective of a marketer, it is also important to consider other metrics that deal with advertising costs. These include:

  • Cost per install shows how much did the user who installed your app cost you (CPI — $3.15 in the US)
  • Retention Rate the percentage of users who are still using an app after a certain number of days after install. Measure 1-, 7-, and 30-day retention rates. This will help you determine how well your app fits into your users’ lives.
  • DAU and MAU — Your daily and monthly active users.
  • Stickiness ratio reflects your most important users — the users who stick with your app and use it daily.
  • ARPU — Your average revenue per user. You can calculate this as: ARPU = Total revenue generated by the app / Total active users of the app.
  • LTV — The value of your app user over their lifetime in the app. You can calculate this as: LTV = ARPU x (1/CHURN), where CHURN is the number of users that left the app after a given amount of time.

FAQ: Jeez, I don’t want to handle it by myself. Can someone else do this boring marketing while I get back to the app development?

There are more than 800 app promotion agencies in the market and the number is growing. Choose the agency that fully meets your business goals and consider using smaller one that is striking for the piece of the pie in the market — be sure it will deliver better results than the well-promoted one. Here are app marketing agencies to consider:

AppAgent is basically mobile marketing team jam-packed with experts available for hire. They help developers grow the user base and revenues with the hands-on support by a team of marketing managers, data analysts, designers and acquisition managers.
Hourly price: from $70

Epom Ad Agency is a full-stack app promotion agency who does cost-effective mobile user acquisition and charge only for actions (CPA or CPI). They run targeted campaigns on social media, Google Adwords, Bing, Yahoo, have their own DSP and SDK traffic. Creative team can do banner ads creatives, landing pages and video ads.
Minimum CPI campaign budget: from $300

ComboApp is a full-cycle communications and marketing solutions provider for a global mobile marketplace. They do ASO, develop app marketing strategy and acquire engaged users through affiliate networks, mobile video, social platforms (i.e. Facebook and Twitter), RTB programmatic buying.
Hourly price: from $100

AppSamurai Self-service advertising platform for the app promotion with a smart dashboard showing all the performance metrics about in-app events. Has a very handy app marketing guide for developers.
Minimum campaign budget: $100

One valuable thing about Social media is that it can remind users about your app and get them back to it. Of the mobile users who stop using an app, 30 percent would use it again if offered a discount, and 24 percent would use if offered exclusive or bonus content.

Think with Google

Tune report shows that reinstalls make up almost 30% of all app downloads in North America, with Mexico at close to 40% reinstalls, Canada at 33.5%, and the United States at 27%. Asia’s reinstall average is on the higher side at 39%, Japan is 40.3%, while India is 31.6%. China is the leader in reinstalls at 58.5%.

Social media is a powerful tool in driving app installs & reinstalls, but it shouldn’t be your major goal. Monitor the user experience: see where users spend most of their time, where they drop off, how and where they interact with the app by tapping, pinching and swiping.

Got a question about app promotion in social media — either for driving mobile app installs or for some other purposes? Feel free to ask them in comments!

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