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How to acquire new players for your mobile game with Facebook App Campaigns

Udonis, a mobile game marketing agency, acquired 1,480,000 users on Facebook in 2018. We ran app install ads & acquired players for our clients in the following game genres: Arcade, Action, Casual, Hyper-Casual, Educational, Card, Strategy, Puzzle, Word and Racing. We've conducted over 10,000 split tests in 2018, tracked & analyzed the results. Today, without any constraints, we're sharing our 8-step guide Facebook Mobile Game Marketing guide with you.

Step 1

Getting to know your target audience with Facebook Audience Insights

Creating successful Facebook App Campaigns starts with getting to know your target audience. To help us understand who's your target audience, Facebook built a powerful tool, called Audience Insights, which gathers millions of data points and signals in order to help us find an audience which is perfectly suited for your app. The best thing about it? It's free! Find it under the "Plan" section of your Facebook ads manager.

This tool will cut your learning curve when it comes to who do you want to target. Not knowing who's your target audience can have monetary aftermath, which translates into high CPI, irrelevant player base and low in-app engagement of newly acquired players.

Step 2

Key Performance Indicators

Monitoring & benchmarking of the campaign performance is crucial for long-term success financial success of your game. The best practice when it comes to performance monitoring is to set key performance indicators (KPIs). Setting KPIs will help you understand how well is the game performing against the market, and against your player. It will also tell you are you making money, running on a breakeven, or if you're just pouring marketing dollars down the drain.

Most often used KPIs in the world of mobile games are:

  • CPI (Cost-per-install)
  • CLTV (Customer-lifetime-value)
  • Retention (Day 1, Day 7, Day 30)
  • ARPU (Average revenue per user)
  • DAU/MAU (the average number of daily/monthly active users)

Step 3

Installing & Configuring SDK

Facebook SDK for mobile is an equivalent of Facebook's pixel for the web. SDK, on the other hand, enables you to pass game event data from your app to Facebook.

The steps for installing the Facebook SDK:

  1. Look up the official Facebook SDK documentation
  2. Register the app on developers.facebook.com to get SDK IDs
  3. Submit required app info to Facebook (Bundle ID, app store ID, hashes & privacy policy)
  4. Decide which events you want to track aside of standard events
  5. Configure & inject Facebook SDK into your app
  6. Submit the app for a review on App Store and/or Google Play

After app stores approve your new version with the SDK in, you'll have to attach it to your add account & you're good to start running ads. Having Facebook's SDK installed will enable you to measure installs & in-app events, improve targeting and create retargeting ads.

Step 4

Using & adding App Events

Adding app events to your game reveals more about your audience and their actions. App events enable you to understand who is using your game, measure ad performance and reach specific segments of your player base (i.e. most active player, most valuable player, etc...)

The next step is to use app events to optimize the performance of your campaigns. For example, you can run a mobile app install ad to people who are most likely to take a specific action within your game (i.e. to make a purchase or use the game more frequently). App events can also be used for value optimization. In such case, Facebook will try to deliver your ads to maximize the total purchase value generated.

Step 5

Creatives & Ad Formats

The Facebook platform supports multiple types of ads, and Facebook App Install ads are created specifically for one thing - growing your mobile game player base. Each ad you'll create will have two components: format (what it looks like) and the placement (where it will be displayed). Depending on your game, budget, audience and your business goals, you'll choose the format and placements that are best for your game.

Formats you can choose from for the app install objective:

  • Image (aspect ratio: 1.9:1, recommended image size: 1200x628)
  • Video (aspect ratio: 16:9, 1:1, 2:3)
  • Carousel
  • Slideshow

Step 6

Placements

The first interaction of the potential players with your game will be through ad creative. From our experience, you should go with the video format, landscape or square, not longer than 60 seconds. If you can communicate the message in less than 15 seconds, that's great, because Facebook favours "mobile-first" videos. The creative should be fun, informative & must be able to display the key features of your game.

Last reports from Facebook say that you have less than 2 seconds to capture the attention of the viewer in the newsfeed, which makes this job quite hard. Therefore, putting an intro into your Facebook video ad equals washing marketing dollars down the drain. Nowadays it takes less than 60 seconds to install the game. On the flip side, it takes even less than that to uninstall it. Don't try to trick people into downloading your game with fancy videos, rather show them what your game really does, and why it's useful to them.

Placements available for app install ads:

  • Mobile news feed
  • Desktop news feed
  • Instagram
  • Audience network

Step 7

Target the right players

Facebook has plenty of powerful audience selection tools helping you show your ads to the most relevant players. With more than 2 billion monthly active users, it will be easy to find players that will be interested in your game.

When choosing the target audience for your app install ad on Facebook, you use an existing audience or create a new audience with a help of different targeting options:

  • Locations
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Detailed Targeting
  • Connections
  • Custom Audiences

Step 8

Use the power of Facebook's retargeting & Custom Audiences

If your game offers in-app purchases or has a business model built on transactions, that most likely means that you have a nice fat CLTV. If that's the case, you should definitely consider running retargeting campaigns in order to re-engage with your existing players.

Use retargeting campaigns to run promotions, show special offers, introduce new features or simply re-engage players who haven't used your game for a longer period of time.

Also, Facebook allows you to segment your players into specific audience sets, based on: - How often they use the game (daily, weekly, monthly) - How they use the game (time spent in the game, features used, etc...) - Specific events they triggered (in-app purchases, player progression, etc...)

If you do this the right way, you'll be able to increase your CLTV even further, and grab extra revenue with just a bit of extra effort. It's simple, and it works!

Step 9

Measure the performance of your campaigns with Facebook Analytics

You've created all these campaigns and you'll surely want to track how are they performing. Facebook Analytics is a tool designed to help you understand your audience and track the performance of your campaigns in a simple dashboard. With Facebook Analytics, you'll understand your player activity and how people interact with your game across devices.

Use Facebook Analytics to:

  • get breakdowns by the campaign for game installs & in-app conversions
  • measure the lifetime value of your campaigns
  • check retention rate by ad campaign or ad set

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