Facebook Ads for Mobile Apps - an Overview

April 17, 2015


If you have never run an ad campaign on Facebook's advertising platform - you are in for a treat. In this Facebook mobile ads overview - we will introduce terms like look-a-like audiences, custom audiences, Power Editor, conversion pixels and Facebook Insights. We'll review some of the literally hundreds of demographic, behavioral and interest targeting options. Tomorrow we'll cover some best practices including ABT (always be testing), tracking attribution and LTV, and mobile specific examples.

The Facebook ad network lexicon

Lets looks at each and how they impact a user acquisition and retention campaign.

Behavioral, Demographic and Interest Targeting

Not only does Facebook have a wealth of knowledge on their users, but they also partner with several sources of 3rd party data to provide targeting opportunities unique to the Facebook ad platform. Facebook partners with Epsilon, Acxiom and Datalogix to acquire a more complete profile of the Facebook user base. Specifically - Facebook collects data from the U.S. Census, warranty cards, registration information, the Department of Motor Vehicles, public record information, survey data and other offline sources. Facebook also gathers “U.S. consumer data on where consumers shop, how they shop, what products and brands they purchase, the publications they read and their demographic and psychographic attributes.” DemographicFB Custom AudiencesIn addition to more widely available demographic data like gender, relationship status, age and location - Facebook collects data and creates profiles for:

  • Financial – Income, Net Worth
  • Home – Home Type, Home Ownership, Household Composition
  • Parents – Parents of children within a specific age range etc.
  • Politics – Preferred political party etc.
  • Life Events – new job, anniversary coming up, newly engaged, just married etc.

Here are a few examples of the type of targeting Facebook enables: Interest facebook mobile ads Behavioral FB Behavioral

Custom Audiences

A group of Facebook users that you create in one or a combination of the following ways:

  • upload a list - likely an email list.  Could be people who signed up for your beta, or are your current customers and likely users of your mobile app.
  • have completed a specific action on your website

    • visited the home page
    • visited the pricing page
    • registered and viewed the “thankyou page”
  • people who have taken a specific action (or series of actions) in your app

    • installed within last 30 days
    • purchased in app item
    • shared on facebook from within app

FB Custom AudienceYou can then target even further based on the targeting options above.


Now that you have your custom audiences - you can try to recreate this audience. Exploring Audience Insights is valuable finding new ways to reach your target users - but not the best route for creating a broader target audience. LookalikeThe very best way to find an audience that is likely to respond like your Custom Audience did (signed up for email, visited a website, performed an action in your app) is by asking Facebook to find the most similar users across their network based on all the variables they track. Very cool, insanely useful. You can create a lookalike by reach or precision.

  Part Two will introduce Insights, Retargeting and walk thru a few examples of using Facebook for a mobile app campaign.



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