A profitable alternative​ to App-Install campaigns on Facebook & Instagram

If you want to advertise your app on Facebook and Instagram, you’re most likely going to choose the App Install objective. Makes sense. You have an app and this is for apps. If you’re getting great results, by all means, keep on using App Installs.

However, if you’re struggling get low-enough cost per install, this little “hack” might help.


Shameless plug: I have just launched a new course that’s all about Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing. I cover this conversions-hack in there in detail. If you want to get the course on Udemy, here’s a massive discount only for the readers of this blog. I have a 30-day, money-back guarantee so you can go through the entire course and get your investment back if you don’t find it valuable.. Click here to get the 94% discount on the course.


After doing probably thousands of experiments on Facebook Ads Manager, running campaigns mostly for apps, I found a neat work-around the App Install campaign with a different objective. The Conversion objective.

Conversions are mostly used by e-commerce sites to optimize for “add to cart” buttons, instead of optimizing for clicks on the ads. It allows you to target the RIGHT users, not the CHEAPEST users. That’s exactly what you want. If you can optimize for any events further down the funnel (meaning closer to your ultimate goal which is revenue), you should!

At some point the App Install campaigns were getting too expensive for me so I tried a whole bunch of tests to get people to download an app without using App Install campaigns directly. One such test seems to work well long-term and is replicable by anyone.

I’ll explain the overall idea and then we’ll deep into the actual details if you want to replicate this experiment.

It works by using conversion campaign objective. You’ll send this traffic to your website, let’s say http://www.yourapp.com. Your website will have a big visible button for your App Store and/or Play Store. These buttons will be the actual conversions you will optimize for. Persons seeds your ad on IG. Said person clicks and is taken to your website. Persons likes what she sees and clicks on your App Store download button. She’s taken to your App Store, downloads your app…boom.

But, but, but!

I can already hear your yelling about adding another step into the acquisition funnel which is against all conventional wisdom. Yes. But! From my experience these conversion campaigns are cheaper than app install campaigns. And yes, some of those people will not click on the button they will get lost, or un-interested…however my assumption is that these people are the low-intent, low-quality users that wouldn’t probably purchase from you anyways. When I ran the numbers, the net cost of app installs using conversion campaigns was lower than direct app install campaigns.

I’m not saying this is some magic trick that works for everybody. I’m just saying it’s worth a try.

Now, I’m gonna jump into the more detailed of what I’ve learned and what to watch out for:

  1. Set up your website conversions properly using the Facebook Pixel. If you have built your app it’s probably not a problem for you set up a Facebook Pixel conversion on your website. If you can’t do it, it’ll take a developer 10 min so find someone. Make sure to check if the FB Pixel works properly using the Events Manager inside Facebook Ads Manager.
  2. The website/landing page is super important obviously. This is where most of those (probably) low-quality users will drop off, but you don’t have to make it difficult on purpose. Your landing page should:

    – have one huge title that clearly says what this website is. For example: “App name, the social network for pet owners”. That’s it. Don’t get fancy

    – have one large sub-title (notice I didn’t say huge, just large). For example: “Find friends or dates while your dogs play together”. This is not a very good copywriting but it’s just an example, you get it…

    – have very visible download buttons to your App Store and/or Play Store.

    – MAYBE have a screenshot if your app has amazing design that will increase the conversion ratio (ratio of landing on the website and clicking that beautiful download button)

    – that’s it. No long text. No paragraph describing every single feature down to the tiniest details nobody cares about. If I were you, I wouldn’t even have a menu at the top of the page. Any button, text, image, element, other than the 3.5 things mentioned above is ONLY GOING TO DISTRACT YOUR POTENTIAL USERS. You are literarily throwing away money by adding more things.
    TikTok is a great example of a landing page with no bs. no distractions.

  3. To measure the performance of these campaigns, you can easily see how many clicked on the ads, how many landed on the website, how many clicked the download button and finally how many downloaded the app. If you’re fancy and have a 3rd party attribution partner, you can even see how many retained and subscribed / purchased from you afterwards. (I’m not fancy that way)

Now go. Test and let me know what you found out.


Shameless plug: I have just launched a new course that’s all about Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing. I cover this conversions-hack in there in detail. If you want to get the course on Udemy, here’s a massive discount only for the readers of this blog. I have a 30-day, money-back guarantee so you can go through the entire course and get your investment back if you don’t find it valuable.. Click here to get the 94% discount on the course.

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