Mobile Apps Facebook AdvertisingIf you have a mobile app for your local business to take reservations, display your catalog, offer coupons or any other use—congratulations, you’re in just the right place as your customers move more and more of their online time to their smartphones.
But sorry—you’re also learning how tough it is to get any attention for your app. The number of apps in the iTunes Apps Store is heading towards one million!
Facebook can help. The social media giant offers advertising for apps that’s not only small-biz friendly but could be the most effective form of app advertising for any company, big or small. Facebook calls these ads “Mobile App Install Ads” and here’s why they’re worth your consideration:
The ads appear only when a user views Facebook on a mobile phone. They display a few lines of text and an image plus a button that takes the user to your iTunes or Google Play (Android) store page to download your app. Users have to thumb past your ad on their way to reading the posts in their Facebook feed—it’s hard to miss, unlike the typical digital ads, crowded to one side of the screen. As a result, these ads tend to get clicked at unusually high rates.
Facebook gives you reporting on the most important metric you want to know about your ad campaign: how much does each download of your app cost you in ad spending? With your cost-per-download number, you can quickly judge if an ad campaign is succeeding or failing. (To turn on the reporting, you’ll need to have your app developer add one bit of code to your apps.)
Your mobile app ad buys you access to the enormous amount of personal data that Facebook collects on its users. Want to target people recently married or recently moved, fans of the brands you sell, or fans of your competitors? How about people mentioning that they need your type of product or service? You enter keywords or select categories in the ad-building tool to define your target audience, including by age, location and gender.
A cost down to $1 per download is a reasonable expectation for Facebook. Unfortunately, you can’t buy advertising on cost per download.  Try Facebook’s CPM or cost per thousand impressions offering (an impression is the first view that one user gets of an ad), which might run you a $4 to $6 CPM. Set a daily or total budget and run a small test to get a feel for how the ads perform for you on a cost per download basis. Give the test several days to let your ads be seen by more of your target audience.
Easy to Set Up and Use 
The Facebook Ads Manager tool is easy to use: just upload an image, type your ad message in a form and make your target choices. You can quickly make multiple versions of an ad to test different messages. A Facebook rep will walk you through setting up your account by phone and for a budget of at least $1,500 you get a coach available by phone and email throughout your campaign.
The Bottom Line
Think of your mobile app as a chance to maintain an ongoing relationship with a customer by winning a permanent spot on the home screen of his or her phone.  What’s that worth to you to spend on a download of your app? Start with your “customer lifetime value” (if you don’t have a handle on that, here’s an article and calculator), then figure your target cost per download on Facebook.