Talking to different user acquisition experts about their insights on Twitter app install ads, it seems that using handles (“users that follow X”) has been the most effective.
Table of Content
Cracking the code of keyword (hashtag) targeting appears to be harder require more maintenance given its highly contextual and real-time nature: it’s about jumping in on what’s trending right now.
“Besides handle targeting and hashtag targeting, we’ve also targeted users that have installed apps in the news category and overall this targeting has worked well.”
– Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, Head of Marketing US @SmartNews
Want to see some real-life examples and case studies of using targeting options? Head on to the case studies section.
Below are also a few words from the Twitter team on targeting.
In general, targeting relevant event handles is a best practice.
On a broader level, our targeting recommendations vary depending on the objectives of the install campaign:
- If the goal is to drive conversions from new users, we suggest targeting new users via handle, keywords, lookalike, etc. targeting and excluding Tailored Audiences of existing installs.
- If the goal is to drive conversions from existing users, we suggest targeting existing users by targeting Tailored Audiences of existing installs
- If the goal is to drive conversions from both new and existing users, we suggest running a combination of campaigns using the tactics listed here above
To help you out in finding the right handles (whether they are event handles or not), Twitter can suggest a list (so ask!).
As you add targeting options to narrow down the audience, the tool provides audience estimates.
Bidding for Twitter ads
We saw that you are charged either by App Clicks or App Installs. And you can either optimize for app clicks or installs, giving you the following bidding options.
If you’re starting out, Twitter recommends to test all 3 bid types. Do keep in mind that bidding with CPI should be the most cost efficient and also gives you the opportunity to experiment with audience, targeting and even ad creatives with minimal risks (since you pay only for actual installs).
If it’s scale you’re after or if you see an opportunity that can’t be missed (event/news happening closely related to your app) then trying out the other bidding options seem to make sense too. Here is a case study about the Touch of Modern campaign where they paid per app clicks.
When starting a campaign, give 3-4 days to Twitter’s prediction model before moving budgets from campaigns that do not perform well to your best performing campaigns.
Twitter also says you should expect your CPI to consistently go down as the campaigns keep going (and latent conversions or happening) and that several weeks (ideally a month but at least 2-3 weeks) are necessary before seeing optimal performance.
Twitter audience platform
If you feel you can’t scale enough your Twitter app install ads, you can also start advertising through Twitter Audience Platform.
Similarly to AdMob for Universal App Campaigns or Facebook Audience Network, this will display your ads within other apps or websites (via MoPub essentially).
There are a multitude of new formats and creative specifications that are then available, and testing them all will extend your reach.
TWITTER AD CREATIVES BEST PRACTICES FOR APP INSTALL CAMPAIGNS
Higher bids required for video
As for most platforms, it is likely that getting impressions for video ads will require higher bids than image ads. The upside of course is being able to better grab viewers’ attention and better demonstrate your app’s value in order to improve engagement post install.
Best practices for your creatives
3 to 5 audience-based creatives per campaign
Twitter suggests in their documentation to have at least 3 to 5 creatives per campaign and to customize them based on the different audiences you target which each campaign: new users, existing users (use deep links to bring them directly to the right place in your app) but also the different targeting options used.
However the caveat is that you won’t get performance reports per creative, so you might decide to run more campaigns, with less creatives (or just 1 creative) as mentioned in the “Creative Optimization” section below.
Here is what Twitter shared with us regarding using image creatives and video creatives:
- If the KPI is clicks – use Image impressions only;
- If the KPI is conversions – use Image & Video;
- If the KPI is installs – Use Image & Video.
Grab users’ attention
Make your image or video stand out by using vibrant colors.
App cards are relatively small (smaller than in the Facebook feed for example), so “think for mobile” is even more important here than on any other platform. This means you don’t want too many elements or too much text in there.
And also to not neglect your tweet copy.
Show your app
Your Twitter ad creative doesn’t need to show only that, but you should show your actual app and its user experience. It makes it clear what you’re advertising for and educates users about the value of your app, making the transition to actually using it smoother.
Show your brand early
Make sure people get a good understanding of what your brand within your Twitter ad creative (whether video or image). Ideally this is done “organically”, while showing your product.
Optimize for sound off
This is something that we’ve already said for Facebook feed ads or Instagram feed ads, and it’s also true for Twitter.
We don’t know about you, but we don’t really have the sound on when scrolling our Twitter feed either. So make sure you leverage copy and/or add subtitles.
Surprisingly, a lot of Twitter ads do not do this well.
Experiment with ratios
The reasoning is that a “taller” ratio takes more screen real estate and is therefore more visible. Most case studies show an increase in CTR and CVR with taller ratios.
But on Facebook and Instagram, people are very used to seeing square creatives.
Fire up your Twitter feed on mobile and you’ll probably see more landscape orientations. For example there are a lot of articles shared on Twitter, and thumbnails display in landscape.
However we mentioned that Twitter App Cards make the visual part smaller than on other platform. A square ratio allows you to zoom-in more on your app, if it’s portrait. And leaves more room in general to make copy bigger.
Using a “taller” ratio like square should not be something you assume, you want to test it.
Avoid ad fatigue: refresh your creatives
Like on other platforms, you want to update and introduce new image and video creatives frequently.
This avoid the “ad fatigue” syndrome and helps maintain a high quality score in auctions. Twitter’s prediction model does take Click-Through-Rate (CTR) into account to decide which ads to display, so even if you bid for CPI you need to make sure your app install ads stay relevant in order to get some volume.
It also forces you to explore new concepts that might perform even better than what you currently have, and identify the types of creatives you should double down on.
Your ability to refresh your Twitter ad creatives of course depends on your resources, but Twitter recommends to refresh them every two weeks.
This is another Twitter tip: leverage seasonality whenever possible in your creatives. Think back-to-school, halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s day, etc.
There is no specific feature to A/B test ad creatives for Twitter app install campaigns.
And the ad reports for each campaign do not have a breakdown into performance at the creative level.
So twitter advises to run image/video separately to monitor performance and optimize stronger performing creative accordingly.
This means that you do more “granular” campaigns with only one creative per campaign.
As opposed to Facebook with engagement metrics (3s view, 10s view, 25%/50%/75% view rate) and UAC with YouTube analytics, Twitter does not provide any video engagement metrics.
“We tend to do creative testing on Facebook and Google UAC, then use the best performers in term of eCVR (CTR x CVR) to our Twitter campaigns”
– Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, Head of Marketing US @SmartNews
TWITTER APP INSTALL ADS CASE STUDIES AND EXAMPLES
You’ve seen a couple of insights from Fabien-Pierre at SmartNews along this post, and here is a bit more info specific to what they’ve done with Twitter App Install ads campaigns.
SmartNews is a personalized news discovery app that uses AI to curate the right articles to show you from 250+ major news publishers.
SmartNews goal was to increase app installs, as well as engagement.
To reach the right people with their Twitter ads, they:
- Targeted installed app categories;
- Used handle targeting with usernames they believed had an affinity to their app (news, finance, media outlets and personalities, etc.);
To optimize their Twitter Ads, they waited a few days after the launch of each campaigns and used early CPI and engagement data (through their attribution partner) to optimize the bids and budgets.
For their Twitter ad creatives, they logically used some of their top performing creatives on other channels like Facebook (where they do most of their creative testing). Below is one of them.
As opposed to Facebook however, it seems harder to get as many impressions for videos. Whereas for Facebook app install ads video represents 80/85% of impressions, on Twitter it was close to 20% only.
To boost purchases in the app for specific shows, TodayTix (a last-minute theater tickets app) combined:
- Broad interest targeting – to find theater fans;
- City-specific interest targeting (local media and performing arts organizations) – because each show advertised is only in one specific place;
- Handles targeting (local playhouses, theater companies and Broadway actors) – if someone follows a theater company or a Broadway actor, chances are they like theater.
Then they created a sense of urgency by running mobile-only lotteries for same-day tickets, therefore creating some additional buzz.
It’s not mentioned in the case study, but there are strong chances that TodayTix also did some retargeting: showing ads for a relevant show to someone that already has the app (and/or already booked through it) seems like a great way to advertise.
GILT used Twitter App Engagement campaigns users that had already downloaded the app, combined with some limited time offers and photos of products that can be purchased in-app.
For some campaigns they also targeted only iOS devices.
Tiendeo is shopping Spanish app with presence in more than 30 countries that connects retailers and consumers looking for shopping deals.
They were looking to get more app installs for their app, and decided to target shoppers in Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway and Spain.
For their targeting, they:
- Used handle (username) targeting to reach people that were following their competitors on Twitter as well as people that were following the retailers they were working with (or similar retailers) – if you follow Bose, you’re most likely interested in their products;
- Geotargeting so the tweets would be relevant to the audience seeing them (language and offers).
For their ad creatives, they shown images of the app (maybe a bit crowded in our opinion, the products should be put in a better light, while still showing the app) and a call to action to download it in the ad copy.
Twitter doesn’t have the same growth as other social media platforms, but it’s been around for a while and it feels like it’s coming back stronger.
To decide if you should give Twitter a try for your app install campaigns:
- Check a few criteria to see if your audience is there;
- If your app is part of a category that advertises a lot on Twitter, this is also a strong signal;
- Think about how you can leverage their targeting options and the contextual and real-time aspect of twitter to make your campaigns more relevant;
- Use several different ad creatives that follow best practices and optimize them for your audiences;
- Optimize your campaigns by refreshing creatives and ruling out bad performers.