Facebook Mobile Advertising: How to Market Your App or Game

Benjamin Hansz is the vice president of International Client Management, FIKSU and spoke at the App Promotion Summit London 2014 on the topic of Facebook app advertising.

The talk covered the following topics:

  • Results From A Study Of 8 Million Downloads Comparing The Performance Of Facebook For Marketing Games To Other Media
  • Best Practices For Improving App Marketing Performance On Facebook
  • Case Studies Showing How Three Different Games Achieved Their Volume, Rank And ROI Goals On Facebook

Now we’re able to share the video and audio recordings of the event and you can find this talk and more in our App Promotion Summit London 2014 Bundle.

Facebook Mobile Advertising: How to Market Your App or Game Video:

Facebook Mobile Advertising: How to Market Your App or Game Audio:

Facebook Mobile Advertising: How to Market Your App or Game Transcript:

Good afternoon. My name is Benjamin Hansz from Fiksu. I am here today to talk about how to go from good to great on social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter. I know it’s been a long afternoon and lunch is right around the corner, so most of you are probably thinking oh this guy. But, I’ll hopefully make it interesting. Any questions, please shout.

First off, to position Fiksu. Fiksu is an optimization platform for mobile user acquisition. We’ve been around for about four and a half years. We first started as an app and then realized we could pivot to go for the bigger business opportunity which is helping other app developers grow at scale. We have over 800 clients. We’ve managed about 2500 different apps. On any given day we’re running about 200 app campaigns on about 50 different networks. We’re pretty close to having generated our 3 billionth download. About two years ago we were 50 employees, and now we’re about 250.

I mention this just to put into context where we’re getting all this information from. We have a lot of data and a lot of experience over the last four years. I’ll give you specifics as the examples come up, but this is where we’re coming from.

Setting the big picture here, the mobile landscape can be broken up into five different types of categories. In the middle is the biggest driver of the traditional non incent banner display networks. This is where you buy inventory on a CPC, CPM basis.

Then, you have the other side of the incent networks or what’s called the reward networks. This is where users are given some sort of incentive to download or do some sort of action on the app. That gets a bad name, but actually incent is usually just thought of as driving lots of volume in a short period of time to increase rank and visibility in the App Store. There’s a lot you can do with incent which is, I guess, part of another talk.

Two things that we’re really bullish on lately, I want to say the last eight months, is both video and RTB. Video is a great execution for your ad message. It’s proven to be extremely effective for driving quality users. RTB, on the flip side, is the dictionary definition of programmatic buying. Fiksu is a technology company, a technology platform. Out of those 250 people over a third of those are engineers and R and D folks, so we really get a kick out of RTB.

Today we’re talking about social which obviously started with Facebook at the end of 2012 and now with Twitter with their announcement of their mobile app unit on Monday.

Why Facebook? We all know Facebook. It’s big. It’s great. Specifically, why we like Facebook is the reach. Facebook has over 1 billion mobile users. If you look at that, that’s actually over 50% of the actual smartphones and smart devices out there. That’s huge.

Volume. With the right tools and the right tactics you’re able to drive huge volumes of quality users in a short period of time. This isn’t so much about rank, because when you talk about volume and acquiring in short periods of time you’re thinking about getting rank. It’s also just that these are apps. The more users you get the more money you make. The faster you can do that the better everything is.

Long term value. With the targeting that you’re able to undertake you’re able to understand more about your app and how the app behaves in the marketplace. This is information you can then feed back into your organization for the next product cycle, etcetera.

The mobile app unit was officially released at the end of 2012. It didn’t really come up to scale until about the beginning of 2013. That’s when everyone kind of caught onto hey, Facebook, it’s happening.

Fiksu and Facebook had been working together for quite some time before the actual launch of this. We beta’d about three of their previous products that just didn’t really have any traction. We would take some of our clients, throw them into a beta program, and the output would be in the $15 CPIs with bad quality users. Then, Facebook would go back to the drawing board and we’d wait until the next beta.

It really kicked off at the beginning of 2013. If you’re in the business since then you knew when it happened. Everyone started talking about Facebook. This is what today’s talk is about, it’s everyone could go on Facebook, and at the very beginning there’s this novelty effect. It’s a new marketplace. There’s no established value for the users there, so everything was really cheap and really easy to do. Everyone was saying I’m getting really good results on Facebook.

Now, it’s matured. It’s a bit more of a difficult challenge. We need to move the conversation from how do you do good on Facebook to how do you do great on Facebook. That’s where some tools and tactics come into play.

The main thing about Facebook not only is its size but, as I mentioned, the targeting and the granularity to which you can get to. In the grand scheme of optimizations the more you can rarefy, the more you can categorize what you’re doing, the more optimization opportunities you have.

An example is you’re targeting people between 20 and 30. If you set up a campaign to target people 20 to 30 that’s one campaign. You can then split it up into two and say from 20 to 25 and 26 to 30. That’s two campaigns. Which one does better? You can take the money from the poor performing one and put it into the stronger performing one. If you go even further and say every year let’s have a campaign for every age group, that’s 21, 22, 23, that’s 10 campaigns. You can do that even on a finer scale which gives you more optimization opportunities which means you can spend your money more effectively.

If you look at it, these are the different kind of ways you can break things down on Facebook. You have the demographic information. You have the education. If you think about your own profile, think about all the information that you’ve put in there from where you went to school, how old you are, to whether you like Nandos or One Direction or whatever. There’s quite a lot of information, let alone the hardware stuff about the device where you are.

You take all that and you can see there’s a rich combination of optimization opportunities which is a good thing and a bad thing. Take an example of you have two genders, five age groups, ten interests, over five geographies, on two different platforms. Right there, that’s a thousand discrete different campaigns, which is great because that provides you tons of opportunities to really get down to what’s working and what’s not working.

The problem is you then have to create those. I think that’s why God invented interns, but that would take a lot of interns. A thousand campaigns not only to create, but then also you need to manage your budgets over that. You need to make sure that you know what’s performing. It’s nigh impossible to manage all that.

More importantly, you’re able to break this out and, again, like I said, you’re able to pivot from what you’re currently doing to create custom audiences, look-alikes, to learn even more about how your app’s behaving in the marketplace. The example here is it’s not just targeting fitness but it’s breaking fitness down into muscle, mens fitness, and physical fitness. Then, from there you can fractal out and you can see how this could easily become a very large and tough beast to manage.

We recently did a Facebook campaign for a card battler app where we took the general what they wanted to do. If you go back to the two genders, five countries, five age groups, we started with a thousand campaigns, but then we started building in the custom audiences and the look-alikes. You can picture in your head how it fractals out into all these different campaigns and targeting opportunities.

We were able to improve the user acquisition by 60%. That 60% is one step in the direction from going to good to great. I would say that’s pretty good. The idea is then you improve on that 60% and keep going.

How Facebook stacks up against the other networks. We did a study which involved over 170 different apps and covered about 10 million downloads which had, I forget the number, a big number, of actual individual app events like launches, resumes, purchases, and all that stuff. I believe it was another factor of ten. So, 8 to 10 million downloads which then was about 100 different app events.

This is what I mentioned before when positioning Fiksu as a Big Data company. Because we’ve been running for four years, because we’ve been promoting so many different apps, we have all this data at our disposal to do this really interesting analysis. We looked at it, and Facebook turned out to be more expensive on the cost per click, about ten times more expensive. Right there you’re starting to think that’s a hard sell. Clients would be like oh, why is the CPC so high, etcetera.

The idea is you look at the end of the funnel, though, and how that backed out. There was over 11% improvement on the conversion rate. The punchline is basically 28% increase on the cost per purchasing user. That generally is, I’m going to say again, on the path from good to great.

The way we were able to do this is, again, applying our programmatic tools against all these different campaigns and using past data to improve the future. Using programmatic tools, though, again, think about your room full of interns. Trying to convey all this to them would be rather difficult. Interns just don’t pay attention.

The other thing you can do on Facebook is retargeting and re-engagement. This is where basically now mobile is positioning. It’s not just about user acquisition. It’s about user retention and re-engagement. Mobile’s about staying in touch with your audiences.

Retargeting is taking your desktop users and pushing them to mobile. Nine out of ten, if not ten out of ten of our clients find that their users monetize better on mobile than they do on desktops. It’s a no-brainer that if you can shift them from desktop to mobile you’ll make more money out of the same people. That’s retargeting.

Re-engagement is your app’s been running promotions for the last 18 months. You’ve generated millions of installs. You have users who loved your app six months ago and used it every day six months ago but have gone silent. They need a bit of a reminder, a bit of a nudge.

With Facebook you’re able to do re-engagement. You’re able to take a list and say I haven’t seen these people in six months, let’s get back in touch with them. Again, very much like any other ad campaign or mobile app campaign, rarefying and how you can split that up is key. You say people I haven’t seen for six months but used it ten times a day, or people who I haven’t seen in six months and used it once a day. You’re able to then optimize around that.

Again, this is another case study that we did. The punchline pretty much again is great improvement of performance.

Skipping along, because I think time is of the essence, we now have Twitter with their recent announcement of their mobile app unit. Again, we’re also very excited about this. Fiksu has been working with Twitter very much like we worked with Facebook well before the launch of their product for over a year on the different products that they were developing for mobile acquisition.

In the last three months specifically we’ve been using this new product that they’ve just launched on Monday doing beta campaigns with our clients. I have to say the results are extremely positive. We’re looking forward to getting this up to full speed.

The first thing a lot of people say is with Twitter the reach is nothing like Facebook’s. Facebook has a billion users. Twitter has about 200 million active users.

The big difference is, though, Twitter users are much more avid, much more I guess rabid, users of mobile, so it’s probably more of who you want to talk to. Where Facebook includes people like my parents, Twitter has these really hard core active users that consume apps at a great pace. That’s a good sign, a good crowd that you want to be a part of.

The new mobile app promotion is very similar to how Facebook’s ad unit works. It shows up in the news feed and it’s a click directly to the App Store. If the app is already installed on the phone then it opens the app. This I’m sure will lead to some more interesting stuff like you can do on Facebook with the retargeting and re-engagement.

Targeting is also very similar. The main difference I guess is that it’s Twitter specific. You can target people by category, by the people they follow, by the searches that they do, along with keywords. Also, the TV targeting is quite interesting. Users who have likely seen your TV commercials, you can actually target them as well.

Tailored audiences is a way of creating your own special group that you want to target. One caveat about that is be careful, because the more you target the more restrictive you’re being. We’re big fans of casting a wide net and then drilling down. But, if you want to do something very specific you’re able to do that with tailored audiences on Twitter. Then, the general kind of geography, gender, and device targeting.

I’m sure this is just the beginning. Twitter is going to come up with a lot more. We’re very excited about this. We’ve had a long, long queue of clients that are now waiting to get on board Twitter.

The Fiksu difference. We mentioned it, like your room full of interns and a machine. In the movies it’s usually man beats machine at the end and all that stuff. Unfortunately, in real life the machines are going to win. I think we know this. Your room full of interns I guess would be equivalent to the left hand side of this campaign. This is a graphic representation of our spend for a Facebook app which is developed. The different colors are the different campaigns. The breadth of those colors is the amount of spend. You can see the white line which tracks the CPI.

The left had side is manually manipulated Facebook campaigns. You can see initially it starts out well. There are some optimizations that are done so the CPI tanks down. Then, what happens is you saturate and you start spending money on things that aren’t working anymore. Your CPI then goes up. You also need to cast a wider net to get new data, reaching out into new corners that you haven’t explored yet. Then, you can optimize back down again.

That’s the story that happened on the left hand side. Then, you have that break in the middle. This is where we turned on our automated tools. You can see instantly. I mean this is a great picture. It’s like one of those pictures where it’s a starry evening and then a sailboat comes out. If you keep looking at this you can really see some interesting stuff as soon as you press the button and get the automated tools going. These are campaign creation tools, monitoring budget and spend, and also KPI fluctuations. You can see the fluctuations actually start increasing quite rapidly. The spend is also very different.

What you can see here is that learning that you get in the manual side where you optimize and you have to open up your budgets again and CPIs go up, you’re doing that but on a much faster scale. The machine is learning much quicker. This is a graphic representation of how powerful the automated programmatic buying is, especially on networks like Facebook and Twitter. Again, in this case study the overall result was over 20% increase in CPI costs.

It’s a bit of a rushed presentation, but for the 15 minutes I hope I was able to touch on a bit about Facebook, a bit about Twitter, and the tools that Fiksu has developed to basically do mobile user acquisition as it truly should be which is programmatically and cost effectively. If you have any questions I’ll be around for the rest of the afternoon. Feel free to grab me in the coffee room. Thanks very much.