How to Leverage Social Media Ads to Market Mobile Apps

April 12th, 2018

How to Leverage Social Media Ads to Market Mobile Apps
David Bell

by David Bell

CEO at Gummicube, Inc.

Who among us hasn’t clicked on an ad for an app while scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Very few social media users can honestly say they haven’t, which is why more and more Advertisers are turning to it to capture the attention of potential users.

Instagram Ad Claritymoney

It’s not just the social experience that draws them in, but also the fact that social media ads are very effective. Almost half of the U.S. population who have spent time on a social networking site reported buying something after seeing an ad.

How Social Media Ads Can Benefit Developers

Social media marketing is especially advantageous for Advertisers for several reasons.

  • Social media advertising is a cost-effective alternative to TV, radio or newspaper ads, which is why they are an effective resource for indie developers and big brand names alike.
  • Social media ads have the versatility to be wherever the consumer is, meaning your advertising space is being put to better use.
  • When a consumer is directly targeted in alignment with their interests or through a social media influencer they trust, they are more likely to convert.

Social Media Advertising Do’s and Don’ts

For those who are new to social media advertising, fret not. Here are some of our tried-and-true social media marketing Do’s and Don’ts that will help to increase visibility with high-quality users and start driving those downloads.

Social Influencers

Do: Reach out to social influencers who are part of your target market. They are a great way to promote an app without making users feel like they are being directly advertised to. The most successful platforms for social influencers are Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat because they typically see much higher engagement rates than Facebook and Twitter. In fact, about 60% of Instagram users report that they discover new products on their feed. This is because these influencers build a sense of trust with their users based on shared interests, goals and lifestyle habits.


Reach out to social influencers without first doing your research. Ensure that they have a decent engagement rate with their followers, so the ad is reaching an optimal amount of people. Otherwise, those marketing dollars might not be used to their full potential.


Do: Consider how many ads a person sees in one day. When a potential user is scrolling through their feed, an ad needs to stand out enough to capture their attention and convince them to consider it. Many developers are already well acquainted with this strategy when adhering to screenshot best practices for use in the app stores, but the same can be applied to social media ads. Overall, researchers have found that ads receive a higher rate of engagement when they are bright, high-resolution images featuring people. For example, the Wish App follows all these tactics by featuring models wearing their clothes in aesthetically pleasing pictures.

Wish App

Don’t: Forget the consumer. While it is important to stay on-brand with social media ads, the consumer should always be your first priority. Research what types of images perform best with your users on each platform. For example, advertisements on Facebook should not contain more than 20% text on the ad image to adhere to Facebook guidelines. That way, your ad won’t be rejected, and will also reach a wider audience.

Callout Texts

Do: Use attention-grabbing callout text to reel in consumers for the final click. Consider Headspace’s call-to-action below. Their ad states that the meditations will be able to pacify any mood. Then the caption below the image directly speaks to the user to say that, while they don’t know what mood the user is in, headspace will bring peace to any situation.

app ad on instagram

Don’t: Use overcomplicated or lengthy callout text. Whether it’s a pricing promotion or informational ad, do not overwhelm the users with too much information. Callout text should still leave a little room for mystery to persuade the user to click on the ad to find out more.

Key Takeaways

Curating the perfect advertisement is a delicate balance of placement, creatives and persuasion. While it may take some trial and error, find which social feeds are the best fit for your audience. Then, do some research to pick the best images and text that they respond to. Once you’ve mastered the art of social media ads and App Store Optimization, you’re sure to see the increase downloads and visibility that your app has been dreaming of.

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