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Mobile App Media Buying


As Founder and Media Director at NuSpark Media Group, you’ll find Paul Mosenson is always learning to provide value to you, especially if you have a mobile app. A few years ago Paul worked with a developer to build a sports app, Sports Debatable, an app that offers sports debates to users. Going through the process from idea to development to growth, with analytics throughout the process, Paul and NuSpark can help plan app install campaigns for you.  Review the information below.

Executive Summary

Merely developing an outstanding app is not enough to fulfill your dreams; effective marketing strategies, specifically app install campaigns, are imperative for success. Herein, we will discuss various facets of app marketing, with a focus on app install ad campaigns, to illuminate best practices and emerging trends.

App Marketing Landscape


  • Apps account for over 50% of all internet traffic
  • Mobile users spend approximately 90% of their time on apps
  • Marketing apps effectively can lead to higher user engagement, brand recognition, and revenue generation

Methods of Marketing

  • Organic Search
  • In-App Promotions
  • Cross-Promotions
  • Social Media Advertising
  • App Install Campaigns

Exploring the Diverse Landscape of App Install Ads

App install ads are a versatile tool that can manifest in various formats across numerous platforms. These encompass Native Ads, Search Network Ads, Display Ads, Banner Ads, and both Short and Long-Form Videos.

Google App Campaigns: Your Multi-Channel Solution

Previously known as Universal App Campaigns, Google App Campaigns serve as a powerhouse for pushing new apps into the market, elevating awareness, and accelerating app installs. These campaigns are strategically deployed across Google’s extensive ecosystem including Google Search Network, YouTube, Google Display Network, and Discover.

Google relies on input parameters like:

  • Type of Ad: Whether it’s an Interstitial or Banner Ad
  • Ad Content: Inclusive of Description, App Store Ratings, and Icon
  • Ad Location: Platforms like Google Search Network, Google Play, or YouTube
  • Action: The subsequent user action post-ad click, usually a redirect to the app store

App Search Ads (ASA): Optimizing for Apple

The Apple App Store uses a real-time bidding system to prioritize app visibility, and guess what? A whopping 65% of installs are initiated post a store search. Therefore, if you’re looking to conquer that coveted top spot, you might want to allocate a specific budget for it.

Facebook App Install Ads: A Toolkit Approach

For those focusing on Facebook app installs, integration with the Facebook SDK (Software Developer Kit) is essential. This allows marketers to meticulously track the install rate, thereby bridging analytics with results, a cornerstone of effective media direction.

Instagram: A Tale of Higher Engagement

Instagram has mastered the art of native advertising, channeling user attention effectively. No wonder Instagram ads generally outperform Facebook in terms of click-through rates.

Snapchat: The Young and Engaged Frontier

Snapchat provides access to a younger, more engaged demographic. Notably, the airline-booking app Hopper saw a 50% reduction in its CPI (Cost Per Install) through savvy radius targeting.

TikTok: The Creative Vanguard

When it comes to creative flair, TikTok is the platform to watch. With an array of options like in-feed videos, brand takeovers, and AR-based content, many brands find in-feed ads particularly effective in driving app installs.

The key to successful app install ads lies in the strategic integration of various ad types, platforms, and performance analytics. Plenty of opportunities to test.

Promoting App Installs Through TV Advertising


TV continues to be a powerful medium for brand exposure, especially for a mass-market approach. When executed well, it can substantially boost your app’s installs. Direct Response at it’s finest.

Strategies for Effective TV Advertising for App Installs

  • Develop a compelling narrative or story around your app that aligns with your brand, making it more memorable to the viewer.
  • Ensure that your ad contains a straightforward CTA, like “Download Now,” accompanied by visuals of the app store icons.
  • Time Slot and Target Demographics: Choose the time slot and channel that closely aligns with your target audience. Analytics can provide key insights into when and where to place your ad for maximum impact.
  • Promo Codes and Exclusive Offers: Offering limited-time promo codes or exclusive offers can incentivize immediate action.

Tactical Execution

Cross-Channel Synergy:

  • Use TV spots as a component of a broader, multi-channel campaign to drive greater engagement.

URL Shorteners or QR Codes:

  • Utilize these to make it easier for viewers to download your app directly.

Tracking and Analytics:

  • Employ advanced tracking solutions that can specifically measure the effectiveness of TV campaigns, like vanity URLs or specialized analytics software for television advertising.

Test and Optimize:

  • As we suggest at NuSpark, always engage in A/B testing to figure out which messaging, visuals, or CTA performs the best.

Measuring Effectiveness

  • Pay attention to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like Cost Per Install (CPI), customer lifetime value, and the impact on organic installs.

Budget Considerations

  • TV advertising can be costly, so effective budget allocation is crucial. Analyze whether the ROI justifies the expense.


TV advertising for app installs isn’t for everyone due to its cost, but when done effectively and analytically, it can be a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. As in any campaign, a balanced approach of strategic planning and tactical execution can go a long way in making your TV advertising effective. A media director adept in both—like Paul Mosenson—would ensure the campaign is not only creative but also meticulously measured for performance and ROI.

Measuring the Effectiveness of App Install Campaigns: A Blend of Analytics and Strategy

The success of an app install campaign is multi-dimensional, relying on a balanced mixture of analytics and strategic ingenuity. Let’s dig into some methodologies.

Attribution Tracking: The Cornerstone

The first step in any measurement journey is understanding where your installs are coming from. Attribution tools like AppsFlyer, Adjust, or Branch help you track user journeys from the click to the install and beyond. This allows you to identify which channels are most effective for acquiring quality users.

KPIs: The Vital Signs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) act as a pulse check. Some essential KPIs you may want to consider are:

  • Cost Per Install (CPI): Measures the cost-effectiveness of your ad spend
  • Lifetime Value (LTV): Indicates the long-term value of the app user
  • Install Rate: Helps in understanding the percentage of users who install after clicking the ad
  • Retention Rate: Assesses how many users continue to engage with your app over time

Cohort Analysis: Beyond the Surface

Cohort analysis allows you to break down your user base into related groups, and analyze their behavior over a set period. This lets you identify trends and patterns in user engagement, which can be pivotal for future campaigns.

User Engagement Metrics

Understanding user engagement can sometimes be as critical as the install itself. Metrics like Daily Active Users (DAU), Monthly Active Users (MAU), and session lengths provide nuanced insights into how users are interacting with your app post-install.

Funnel Analysis: The Conversion Story

Examining how users move through various stages of your app can reveal bottlenecks or opportunities. Funnel analysis helps in identifying at what stage users are dropping off and allows you to rectify those pain points.

In-App Events: The Behavioral Aspect

Monitoring actions within the app—like level completions in a game or feature usage—can offer deeper insights into what’s compelling for the user. This data can inform your retargeting strategies.

ROI: The Ultimate Litmus Test

The Return on Investment (ROI) provides a straightforward measure of the campaign’s profitability. By correlating the revenue generated by app users to the costs associated with acquiring them, you can gauge the true effectiveness of your campaign.

A/B Testing: The Continuous Learning Loop

Always be in the mode of learning and refining. A/B tests can help you understand what strategies are yielding better results and which ones need to be reworked.

What is Mobile App Install Attribution?

Mobile App Install Attribution is the process of identifying where users came from before they installed a mobile application. In simpler terms, it’s about tracking the journey of a user right from the initial interaction (clicking an ad, for instance) to downloading and installing the app. It’s like digital detective work, where the goal is to find out which marketing channels or campaigns are most effective at driving app installs.

How Does It Work?

Attribution works by using unique identifiers and parameters that are appended to the URLs of your marketing campaigns. When a user clicks on an ad or link, these identifiers are captured and stored temporarily. Once the user installs and opens the app, the attribution platform matches the unique identifiers to the corresponding marketing channel or campaign.

  • Identifier Matching: Methods like Device ID matching, Fingerprinting, and Deep Linking are used.
  • Time Windows: You can set attribution windows to understand if an install occurred within a specific time frame post-click or post-view of an ad.

How to Add Attribution to an App?

  1. Select an Attribution Platform: First off, choose an attribution platform like Adjust, AppsFlyer, or Branch that aligns with your analytical needs.
  2. SDK Integration: Once you’ve chosen a platform, the next step is to integrate their Software Development Kit (SDK) into your app’s codebase. Most SDKs offer step-by-step guides and are compatible with various programming languages.
  3. Campaign Tagging: Customize URLs of your ads with unique tags that the attribution platform can read. This usually involves appending parameters to the URL that specify the source, medium, and other aspects of the campaign.
  4. Testing: Before going live, rigorously test to make sure the attribution is being captured accurately. Test various scenarios like clicking an ad but not installing immediately, or going through different channels.
  5. Data Analysis: Once live, you can start analyzing your data in real-time using the attribution platform’s dashboard.

Why is It Important?

  1. ROI Optimization: Understanding which channels are bringing in high-quality installs allows you to allocate your budget more effectively.
  2. User Engagement Insights: Attribution goes beyond just installs; it can also track user engagement and in-app purchases, helping you understand the complete user lifecycle.
  3. Data-Driven Decisions: With precise data at your fingertips, it’s easier to make informed choices, whether it’s tweaking an existing campaign or conceptualizing a new one.

Strategic Insight

For a seasoned Media Director like Paul Mosenson, who places a premium on analytics and results, mobile app install attribution isn’t just another metric—it’s the backbone of campaign optimization. By integrating such attribution models, Paul would be leveraging hard data to make strategic decisions, whether it’s cutting out underperforming channels or doubling down on campaigns that are driving quality leads and conversions. This isn’t just about numbers; it’s about interpreting those numbers in a way that aligns with business goals for maximum impact.


More about those App Install Measurement Platforms


Adjust, AppsFlyer, and Branch are key players in the mobile app ecosystem, specializing in mobile measurement and attribution. Having a comprehensive understanding of how your mobile marketing strategies are performing is vital, especially when you’re focused on driving quality leads and sales.


Adjust primarily focuses on mobile app analytics and attribution. Its platform can track various KPIs, such as installs, user engagement, and lifetime value, across multiple channels. It integrates with a multitude of other platforms, making it easier for you to get a unified view of your campaign performance. Adjust is an invaluable tool for companies that demand precise analytics to optimize ROI.

  • Key Features: Real-Time Analytics, Audience Segmentation, Fraud Prevention


Similar to Adjust, AppsFlyer provides mobile app attribution and analytics, allowing you to monitor the effectiveness of your campaigns on different channels. It stands out for its extensive analytics features, which enable you to delve deep into customer journeys and interactions with your app. AppsFlyer also comes with built-in fraud prevention mechanisms.

  • Key Features: Cohort Analysis, Cross-Promotion Tracking, Cost Reporting


Branch takes a slightly different approach by emphasizing deep linking, which enables a seamless user experience across websites, emails, and apps. While it also offers attribution and analytics capabilities, Branch specializes in ensuring that links work across all platforms and channels, funneling users directly to the content or feature they’re interested in within the app.

  • Key Features: Deep Linking, Web-to-App Banners, Deferred Deep Linking


Adjust and AppsFlyer excel at the analytics and attribution end, providing detailed insights that can drive quality leads and informed decision-making. Branch, on the other hand, excels at user experience optimization through deep linking.

It’s not just about collecting data, but making that data actionable — turning insights into strategies that yield tangible outcomes. Paul would likely scrutinize the feature set of each platform, map it to the specific KPIs he’s targeting, and execute a more effective, ROI-positive mobile marketing campaign.


Paul’s App Experience

The experience Paul Mosenson gained in app marketing through the Sports Debatable app is invaluable when it comes to helping potential clients with their app install media buys. Here’s why:

Hands-on Experience

First off, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. By managing Sports Debatable, Paul not only understands the strategic landscape but also the tactical nuances that come with app marketing. He knows the KPIs that truly matter and how to optimize them, which is golden knowledge that can be directly applied to client campaigns.

Data-Driven Insight

A focus on analytics is key in any form of digital marketing, but even more so with app installs. It’s not just about getting the app onto devices; it’s about quality installs that lead to engaged users. Paul’s emphasis on analytics ensures that every media buy is not just driving numbers but driving numbers that matter.

In essence, Paul Mosenson brings a rich tapestry of direct experience, data-driven strategy, and innovative tactics to the table. Clients don’t just get a media director; they get a seasoned partner who can navigate the complexities of app install media buys. Below are some screen shots of the app. Again the app website gives you more, plus links to the app stores.


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