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How To Advertise Your Mobile App On Facebook: Tracking Conversions

February 13, 2015 | Facebook Marketing, Mobile Apps

This is part one of a short series we’re writing over the next couple of weeks about how to advertise a mobile app on Facebook.

Advertising for mobile app installs means you are spending money to acquire users. Hopefully you can reach an effective cost per install – but to do that and understand how much you can spend to acquire a new user, you need to understand some important metrics – namely, your customer acquisition cost and what the lifetime value is of the various user segments you are marketing to. That means you need to be able to track in app events, like purchases, inside your app and tie it back to the ad campaign, ad set, and ad you’re using to get the install.

Metrics You Need To Know

  • Cost Per Install: how much advertising do you need to buy to get someone in your target audience to install your app? Many people ask – what’s a good cost per install? Well, it depends on how much that user will spend and if you can achieve payback on your install ad. A good cost per install is whatever you are paying for an install in a profitable campaign 🙂
  • Conversion Rate: there are many different conversion opportunities in a user’s journey through your app. For example, Install -> Signup -> Add Credit Card -> Add to Cart -> Purchase. Being able to track events in your app will allow you to measure these various conversion rates and figure out what you need to improve to create a profitable funnel – meaning, once you have the install, what elements of your app need to improve so that you can run profitable ads at scale.
  • Cost Per Conversion: Let’s say it costs you $10 in install ads to derive a purchase inside your app. That’s your Cost Per Conversion, or CPA.
  • Lifetime Value: This is a calculation that determines how much a user will spend on your app over their lifetime. For one of the best resources on the topic, visit this blog. LTV = Average Revenue Per User / Churn Rate OR ARPU*Customer Lifetime.

That should get you started, now let’s talk about what you need to do in order to measure these metrics to truly create successful mobile advertising campaigns on Facebook.

Tracking Events Using The Facebook SDK

Here is the detailed process from Facebook on how to set up the SDK (software development kit) in your app:

In summary, there are two steps to integrating the Facebook SDK so that you can directly measure cost per install and tie it back to your ads.

Step 1 is registering your app with Facebook. You’ll need to enter the App Store ID for your app and complete a simple profile at the App Dashboard: – detailed steps are outlined in the Facebook link above.

Step 2 is integrating the Facebook SDK into the app. If you’re not technical, this is something your development team will have to handle. This doesn’t mean you need to use Facebook Login, Share to FB, or any of those features in the app. If you install the SDK and set up the following:

Screenshot 2015-02-13 17.38.28

Then you can track installs and Cost Per Install right inside the Ads Manager reporting interface on Facebook.

Next: App Events

Once you’ve taken the above steps it’s time to make sure you are tracking in app events to measure conversions, cost per conversion, and conversion value so that you can build profitable campaigns.

This is a little more in depth, especially for non-technical folks, but the next step is to configure your app’s events through the Facebook SDK. Here’s the page to pass along to your development team: … there are a number of predefined events with the Facebook SDK that you can associate with actions a user takes in your app.

Make sure to enter the parameters that fit your user experience (prices for items) so that when you pull reports on your campaigns, you can measure conversion value.

Here’s the cool part…

Once you’re measuring events, you can use mobile engagement ads to target certain user segments on Facebook and drive them back to specific pages in your app to incentivize them to complete a specific event.

An example would be targeting a user who has installed the app, but has not hailed their first driver and taking them directly to a Pick Me Up Now page within the app. Or perhaps targeting someone who abandoned the cart when they were about to complete a purchase.

The opportunities are endless with engagement ads – and based on the campaigns our team is managing they’re proving to provide a significant boost on ROI.

Other Tracking Options

I would definitely recommend fully integrating the Facebook SDK and it’s event tracking options even if you are planning to integrate another third party mobile measurement tool. The advantage to setting up one of the following tools is that you’ll be able to track your ads across multiple mobile advertising networks (there are hundreds) like Twitter and the Google Display Network.

Here’s a list of recommended mobile analytics platforms  to check out:

I would recommend looking at Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers as well as Twitter’s and selecting a 3rd party tool that directly integrates and is recommended by both. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be set and will be able to track across hundreds of different mobile advertising channels (although 80% of your time will be spend on Facebook & Twitter).

Hopefully this post helps you navigate the often confusing world of mobile metrics and analytics. So, go get set up so that you can start driving profitable users into your app – more on that in the next post.

James Dickerson

Founder of CrushCampaigns

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