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5 Tips For Creating Killer Facebook Ads for Apps

Facebook app ad creative

In my previous post here at AppsBuilder I discussed 5 ways that you can improve your Facebook Ad Targeting. Getting your ad targeting right is the first step. Next, you need to make sure that the ad creative you put in front of your audience actually convinces them to click on it.

Here are 5 tips to ensure your ad creative catches the attention of your audience and convinces them to take the next step and click on your ad.

Creating Effective Ad Images

The image that you use in your App Install Ad is most likely the first thing a person sees when they are scrolling through the news feed. But it’s a crowded place, and if the image doesn’t stand out people will continue past it without a second thought. You’ve got one chance to capture the attention of a potential app user, make it count!

First, let’s cover some basic rules for creating Facebook App Install Ad images:

  • The recommended image size is 1200 x 628 px. I recommend sticking to this to avoid having parts of your image cut off or it looking stretched.
  • Up to 20% of the image may contain text. Facebook are strict on this and will not approve your ad if there is too much text. You can check your images using Facebook’s Grid Tool.
  • Images may not exploit political, sexual or other sensitive issues.
  • Images may not be overly sexual, imply nudity, show excessive amounts of skin or cleavage, or focus unnecessarily on body parts.
  • I recommend you read all of the Facebook image guidelines. Facebook have been cracking down and banning accounts for not following the guidelines so it’s best to stay on the safe side.

Let’s move on to the first 3 tips, which will help you create better Facebook ad images.


1. Tailor the image for your target audience

The worst thing you can do with your ad images is create something generic that attempts to appeal to everyone. The truth is, if you do that you’ll end up with something that isn’t highly appealing to anyone.

I discussed the importance of targeting different segments of your audience with specific ads in my previous post. Now let’s look at how you would use different images for each audience segment that you are targeting.

As always, ask yourself what this particular segment of your audience is really interested in. You want to think about what would make them stop and pay attention after only seeing the image for a second.

Here’s an example:

If you’ve got a fitness app, you might have segmented your potential audience into 2 groups. Men who want to get huge lifting weights, and men who want to get ready for a marathon. As you can imagine, they have completely different goals, and their interests and behaviour will reflect that. You need to take this into consideration when you create your images.

In this case you could use an image of a bodybuilder in the gym for your weight lifting audience, and a separate ad with an image of a person running up a mountain for the marathon runner. See how each image appeals specifically to the audience you are putting it in front of. That’s smart advertising.

fitness apps fb install adThese 2 different ad images appeal to very different audience segments. These examples are from different apps, but you can apply the same strategy to different audience segments for a single app.


2. Use an Image Style That Suits Your App

If you look at the app install ads in your own news feed, you will notice that different techniques and image styles are used depending on the app’s category.

You should gain an understanding of what works for the type of app you’ve created and use a similar style for your images. Some things to take note of include:

  • General colour schemes.
  • Use of text.
  • Whether the images feature app screenshots, people, devices etc.

For example, ads for health & fitness apps often feature images of fit healthy people. For action games you’ll notice they often use custom images that show of the characters or amazing graphics. Finance apps tend to show people, money and use the colour green a lot. While educational apps tend to show the app running on a device and often people holding that device.

style apps fb instal ads

Notice the difference between the image style used for the finance app ‘BillGuard’ on the left, compared to the game ‘Heroes of War’ on the right.


3. Make It Eye Catching, But Don’t Go Too Far

Sure, you want to use bright colours to catch the eye as people scroll through the news feed. But it’s important to make sure you don’t go too far.

Over-use of bright, flashy colours can be a bad thing. People are very sensitive to advertising no matter what the medium. Too many bright, flashy colors tells people that the image is part of an advertisement.

We aren’t trying to hide the fact that this is an ad, but if your first impression screams that you just want to sell something, people will instantly ignore it.


Closing The Deal With Great Ad Copy

After you draw your target audience in with a highly effective image, it’s up to your ad copy to convince them to click on the ad and download your app.

When it comes to Facebook App Install Ads, there are 2 blocks of text that you are able to customize. The headline is a short description that sits below the image. The body text is longer and is generally used to describe the main features of the app in more detail.

adv copy fb app install

These next tips will help you write better copy for your Facebook Ads.


4. Create a Killer Ad Headline

Your headline should summarize the key benefit of your app using as few words as possible.

When people are considering downloading an app, they want to know what it will do for them. How will it make their life better? You should focus on this when creating the ad copy above everything else.

To create your headline:

  • Think of the primary benefit to your audience and aim to summarize it in 3-4 words max.
  • Try to avoid being ambiguous or statements like ‘Download Now’. No one ever thinks “Oh I just want to download now”, do they?
  • Use language that your audience would use. Think about the exact words and phrases they would use and incorporate those into your headline.

Here are a few examples of great headlines:

headlines app install ads facebook


5. Sum It All Up In The Body Text

Once a potential user has been drawn in by your image and your headline has got them interested in your app, they will move on to reading the body text to decide if the app really is for them.

Here are a few points to help you write great copy for the body of your Facebook app install ads:

  • There is a 90-character limit for this field if you use the standard ad manager. This limit does not exist in the Power Editor, however I suggest still keeping the body text short. The best ads I’ve seen all manage to keep it to 2-3 short sentences.
  • You’ve got more space here than in the headline, but the objective is still the same. You want to demonstrate to your audience how the app will benefit them.
  • One way to do this is to briefly raise a problem or pain point that your audience has and immediately follow by stating how your app solves that problem.

You can see how MileIQ have done a great job of this in their ad below.  The statement “Don’t let the IRS get you.” hits on a common pain point. Nobody wants to end up in trouble with the IRS. The next sentence explains how their app will help you prevent that: “Make mileage deductions easy with MileIQ & save thousands!”

mile IQ fb app ad


I’m sure these 5 tips will help you dramatically improve the performance of your Facebook app install ad creatives. Try combining these with 5 ways that you can improve your Facebook Ad targeting and share your results in the comments below!

The last thing that I want to mention to you is the importance of always testing multiple different creatives in your campaigns. I recommend testing at least 3 different images and 2 different combinations of copy (6 ads total) for every campaign you run. This greatly increases your chances of creating an ad that resonates with your target audience.

Also if you would like to learn even more about creating effective Facebook ad campaigns for your mobile apps, don’t forget to sign up for your free Facebook ad training series.

About the author

Andrew Hubbard - App Publishers ParadiseThis post was submitted by Andrew Hubbard, founder of App Publishers Paradise – a resource for mobile app user acquisition and marketing. Andrew helps app developers create highly successful Facebook advertising campaigns for their mobile apps. An Australian, he enjoys wrestling crocodiles, boxing kangaroos and racing emu’s. You can also reach him on Twitter @A_Hubbard

 App Promotion & User Aquisition Ebook

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