7 tips to increase your app downloads thanks to programmatic advertising
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In 2021, there were more than 6.3 billions mobile phone users in the world.

Smartphones and tablets, and therefore apps, have become part of consumers’ daily lives: the average mobile owner spends 4.2 hours per day using apps on his/her device. 

Moreover, people tend to buy more and more through their mobile phone. In 2021, more than 288 millions US dollars were spent through mobile phones.

In the light of all these figures, it’s clear to see that people are increasingly inclined to use apps. Hence the development of a fierce competition on this format to acquire new users

In this article, you’ll discover how programmatic advertising can help you increase your app downloads, while ensuring you develop the right brand image around your mobile application.

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"4.2 hours on our mobiles using apps, daily!" A woman holding her phone.

Balance quality and quantity

First off, you, marketer, have to ask yourself if you would rather…  

  • Get a large number of low-cost, low-qualifies application downloads
  • Increase your qualified app downloads, which can only be reached at a higher cost

Indeed, downloads that you generate with a smaller budget often lead to intrusive advertising practices. For instance, many application developers choose to set up an incentive to access their online game or content.

Always remember that quality has a price. The more you boost qualified downloads from targets that will actually use your app on a daily basis, the more you will have to spend your budget.

Set up an SDK

If you are in the mobile app industry, you have probably already heard of the term SDK, which stands for Software Development Kit. This SDK allows you to connect your application to others.

When you launch programmatic advertising campaigns to promote your mobile app, it is crucial for you to have an SDK. This is the key that will allow you to drive your user acquisition devices.

In fact, without an SDK, you won’t be able to analyze your application downloads in a granular way, nor exclude your active users from your advertising campaigns. And these issues can reduce the ROI of your programmatic acquisition device! 

Precisely target your audience

As you probably know, in any digital advertising campaign, it’s important to target the right audiences, not only to reach your ideal users, but also to maximize your marketing campaign’s ROI. 

When you launch a campaign to acquire new app users, you first need to make sure you exclude active users from your campaign. To do so, you’ll need to connect the app’s SDK with the DSP (Demand Side Platform). This connection will allow you to communicate data about your app’s downloads and use. 

Then, target your audience following those two key-steps:

  • First off, create whitelists of websites where your target-audience is most present, both in volume and time spent. At first, make sure that these whitelists are large enough to collect a significant volume of data. This initial data will help you carry out optimizations to your targeting.
  • Then, add intentionalist data segments to this first list. Remember that this type of data comes at a cost: to be profitable, the performance of your campaign needs to compensate for that cost.
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Select high-performance formats to boost your app downloads

Which programmatic advertising formats are the most relevant to promote a mobile app? There is no doubt here that the answer is mobile display formats, that are the least expensive and have a good average click-through rates.

Turn to formats such as… 

  • Leaderboard ads, i.e. horizontal mega banners
  • Medium rectangle, that integrate perfectly next to editorial content
  • Interstitial ads, i.e. ads that interrupt the audience’s navigation to serve the ad

Concerning this interstitial format, be careful: it can be quite intrusive if you don’t apply the best practices to ensure an optimal user experience! Make sure that your interstitial ad only appears in an in-app environment, only when the app is opened (not while it’s used) and finally, that it can be easily closed by the user from the first second it is displayed. 

Whatever formats you choose, always think about providing the best possible user experience to your target market. Your app’s brand image depends on it! 

Choose a broad display environment

Every traffic acquisition or download acquisition campaign needs to be set up in a broad enough display environment to reach its targets.

Therefore, choose an expanded display environment, on mobile and in a targeted in-app environment, using an open auction method (i.e. advertising auctions open to all advertisers). 

However, you also have to ensure the brand safety of your campaign, in order not to jeopardize your brand image. To do so, create a blacklist of websites where you don’t want your ads to be displayed.

Diversify the tactics to promote your mobile app

There’s no better way to increase a mobile app’s downloads than by deploying multiple programmatic advertising channels. The more channels you use, the more you’ll reach your target-audience. 

First, activate the following free channels: 

  • App Store Optimization (ASO). This simply means optimizing your app’s listings on the various app stores available, such as the Apple Store or the Google Play Store, so that your targets can easily find them when they type in keywords related to your app.
  • Deep Linking. The idea behind this tactic is to match the tags of the websites where you broadcast your ads with your app, to encourage downloading the app.
  • App Indexing. This requires indexing the app in search engines, to make your mobile application more visible. 
  • App Redirect. The idea is to suggest downloading your app when your audience visits a website.

But also turn to paid channels which can increase your app downloads, such as… 

  • Ad App Store. This consists in broadcasting ads in the app stores, targeting keywords that meet your users’ needs, like what can be done on Google with SEA.
  • App Downloads. This particular type of digital advertising is implemented in a solid user acquisition strategy, through channels such as Social Media, Search and others.

However, selecting the right channels isn’t just enough. Also make sure you maximize the synergies between each of those channels, by analyzing in your SDK their contribution to your global strategy.

Download our infographic!

Measure your user acquisition strategy performance

In any digital advertising campaign, you just can’t do without a good performance measure method. This allows you not only to follow how your budget is spent, but also to optimize your campaigns to generate even more qualified app downloads.

Take time to select the right KPIs. Think about integrating in your reports… 

  • The volume of downloads generated: don’t forget to deduct the budget you have deployed to obtain the acquisition cost of your new users.
  • The qualification of your new users: analyze the average basket, and compare this figure with the average basket of other acquisition channels, or the app’s global basket.
  • Your campaign’s ROI: Make sure you monitor the rate of new users generated by your campaign, to ensure they are indeed new users.

Also, don’t forget to keep in mind how iOS 14.5 (and beyond versions) impact these KPIs’ analysis. In fact, since April 2021, iOS’ App Tracking Transparency feature pops a consent banner when the app is first opened, asking the user whether he/she wants to share their data to the app. 

This feature has consequences on the targeting and performance measurement of your advertising campaigns. This means you have to review your targeting criteria and the indicators you need to take into account when optimizing your campaigns.

Need to know more about this? Check out our post about App Tracking Transparency and its impacts on advertising campaigns

Thanks to these 7 tips, you are ready to launch programmatic campaigns to increase your app downloads, and recruit new qualified users. 

Need help with your next campaign? Contact a Gamned! expert now, and rely on our programmatic activation expertise to build you a customized, performance-oriented campaign. 


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