App Acquisition Ads Best Practices

Instant Game ad units via click-to-play ads are now available for your player acquisition efforts directly from the Ads Manager.

Note: Though Instant Games are not downloadable apps, the metrics for Instant Games in the Ads Manager Dashboard are called “Mobile App Installs” and “Mobile App Purchase” because they rely on existing Mobile App Install Ads system.

Below an outline of recommended best practices for Instant Game ad campaigns. Examples are for illustration purposes only.

Campaign Objective

  • Use the App Install objective.

Budgets and Bidding

  • Always keep in mind that CPI will vary for various reasons like what the app is, who you are targeting, app genre, app pricing, iOS vs. android etc.
  • Experiment with different ad sets with different bids and see if you can get more for less
  • Daily budgets allow for greater flexibility in spend while lifetime budgets allow for ease of allocation and tracking
  • Many factors affect how much budget is required for desired results including, regions, creative, bids, targeting, time of year, placements etc.
    1. A good rule of thumb for setting a minimum budget is to find your cost per result and multiply times 8 to find the min daily budget
  • If your main goal is to control your cost per optimization event, you'll want to choose a constrained bid strategy and enable us to spend as much as possible as long as we meet that cost goal.
  • If you use a bid cap or cost target for a conversion-optimized ad set, we recommend setting your budget at least five times as high as your bid cap or cost target.
  • For more information on Budgets and Bidding check this article in the help center

Choose the Instant Game to Be Promoted

  • Choose Instant Game from the app store dropdown menu
  • Search for your instant game in the search box by name and select it to be promoted
  • Note that you need to link the ad account to the instant game in developers.facebook.com for the game to appear from the search box

Targeting - User Growth

Audiences

  • Check the box under “Detailed Targeting Expansion” to engage new users, especially if it's a new app in a new country
  • Target between 5-100 million people for optimal results.
  • Keep same audience types together to avoid narrowing the audience size as it is 'OR' logic (i.e. a person can fit one custom criteria OR the other to see the ad. Using multiple audience targeting types in the same ad set will apply 'AND' logic (a person must fit all targeting criteria to see the ad)
    1. Ex: Custom audiences should be in an ad set with other custom audiences
  • For different types of audiences, it's best to break them out into separate ad sets to make sure you are capturing all user segments
    1. Ex: Build one ad set for Detailed Targeting (Interests and Behaviors), one for Connections Targeting, one for Custom Audiences
  • Ensure you don't target the same audience in multiple ad sets. This can lead to competition within your own account.

Core Audiences

  • Build core audiences by defining geos, age ranges, and gender
  • Core audiences, or also known as broad audiences, are generally the cheapest audience to acquire, but are also lowest in quality

Interests

  • Use broad interest and behavior targeting for related interests and keywords
  • Although tempting, try to stay under 100MM people in one ad set
  • Interest audiences are a bit more expensive than core audiences, but are generally higher quality

Custom Audiences and Look-a-likes

  • Building custom audiences off of specific user behavior, engagement or types of app events and building a LAL audience can be a very effective way to find new users who are also likely to exhibit these behaviors
  • You can build these off of app events, pixel events, page engagement, or ad engagement depending on your campaign objective
  • Rule of thumb is to have one separate ad set only targeting 'Friends of people who use my app' (and exclude any custom audiences as well)
  • Make sure your app events are set up to be able to create custom audiences (App Ads Helper)
  • Building off of App Installs, New Instant Game Users, and Most Active users are the recommended events to use to build a large enough seed audience if possible
    1. Optimal audience seed size is at least 5,000 people
  • 1% LAL's are the most similar people, and recommend using 1-5%. The higher the percentage the less similar the LAL with 10% being the highest and less like the original seed.
  • It's best practice to exclude the seed audience from the ad set that's using the LAL to avoid overlap
  • Custom and Lookalike audiences are the most expensive audience to go after, but are the highest quality.

Placement

  • Leave as automatic placements if you want to deliver to all placements supported
  • Use manual placements if you only want to deliver to a subset of platforms or devices

App Install Optimization

  • Select App Installs for optimization - will deliver budget to each as many installs for the lowest price depending on your objective
  • Select your conversion window to be 1 day after clicking or viewing
  • Select impression for When you get charged, and one can select App Install once there are certain number of app install events sent back (see CPA ads for more info)

Targeting - In-App Purchases

Audiences

Note: We recommend running growth campaigns first to build a large enough cohort to build purchase audiences from.

  • Create custom audiences off of purchase events back to 180 days. If the seed audience is not large enough you will not be able to build a LAL audience
  • Using behavioral events as proxies to IAP's is also an effective way to build a large enough seed
  • Exclude People who have used my app from connections targeting
  • Exclude previous custom audiences that may be contradictory to IAP behavior
  • Build LAL audiences to be 1-5% in size

Interests and Behaviors

  • Narrow audience targeting is recommended - more than one interest/behavior criteria that must be met (i.e. interested in clash royale AND has income between $80,000-$100,000)
  • Avoid large generic interests (i.e. mobile games) or behaviors (i.e. online purchases)

App Event Optimization

  • Select App event and Purchases to have the ad set optimize for purchase events, best for games with high enough volume of IAP

Targeting

Audiences

  • Exclude people who have already made a purchase and Most engaged users as it's not recommended to continue to advertise to people who have already converted
  • Use whatever events you like for your custom audiences to drive the desired behavior
  • If the audience is less than 200,000 people, use reach as the objective. Otherwise, optimize for conversion. Because the audience is pre-qualified, there is no need to further optimize, especially if it’s a small audience.

Creative

Static Images

  • Static images are good to use in tandem with video assets because they load instantly, consider using them in for regions with slower wifi speeds

Videos

  • Use video assets whenever possible
  • Vertical video formats perform best on mobile:
    1. 15s in length or less are the recommended video length
    2. Recommended Aspect Ratios - (4x5, 1x1, 2x3)
    3. void 16x9 or landscape videos whenever possible
    4. h.264 video with AAC audio in MOV or MP4 format

Carousel

  • This format does not currently support the tap-to-play overlay. We do not recommend using the carousel format currently.

Identity

  • Recommend connecting your app to your Facebook page or selecting to use your Facebook page as the identify rather than the app name to avoid content not found errors

Test Your Ads

Preview and Demo Ads Before Launching

  • Send a preview of the ad to your mobile device (both android and iOS) to test your user flow
  • Make sure that every clickable feature is driving to the desired landing experience
    1. Ex: Click the overlay tap-to-play button and make sure the game loads properly
    2. Ex: Click the CTA button and make sure the game loads properly
    3. Ex: Click the app/page name to make sure the correct game loads if identity is app and the correct page loads if identity is page
  • Creative can render differently on different devices including iPads and tablets so be sure to test on multiple surfaces to avoid stretched images

Test Creative

  • Avoid creative fatigue by testing creative and messaging
  • It's possible to do this using Dynamic ads for testing multiple creative, ad text, link description, headlines and CTA combinations within one ad. This option is helpful when there are many different combination options to choose from
  • It's also possible to run multiple ads with different creative combinations in the same ad set and see which ad performs best

Custom Payloads

Discovery Configuration Tool

We created the Discovery Configuration Tool tool to give our instant games developers a way to associate an Acquisition Ad with a payload. With this tool, developers will know which ad a player clicked and can provide a custom landing experience for them.

How to use the tool

  1. Go to developers.facebook.com, then go to the main page of the app you want to use the tool with.
  2. Select Instant Games, then select the Discovery Configuration tab.
  3. Click the Add Ads Payload button and fill in the Ad ID field and Payload field. Note: The Payload field only accepts strings in a valid JSON format that represents an object. The flow type is { [string]: number }. Learn more about Flow types here.
  4. Click Submit and confirm your submission.

How to test your ad

  1. Go to the Ads Manager and select the ad you want to review. Click Preview.
  2. In the Ad Preview Dialog, click Ad Preview.
  3. Under View on Facebook, click Facebook Mobile News Feed. The ad will be injected into your News Feed.
  4. Go to m.facebook.com on desktop and open the console.
  5. Click the ad you just injected to open the game. Remember to switch the JavaScript context to your in-game context.
  6. Type FBInstant.getEntrypointData() to see the payload you just associated with the ad.

Additional Resources

BUDGETS AND BIDDING

APP EVENTS

AUDIENCE TARGETING

CREATIVE