Why you should consider Instagram ads for your mobile app install campaigns

Instagram Ads

November 30, 2018

By acquiring Instagram and introducing Instagram ads in its news feed about 3 years later, Facebook found another place to replicate its success and learnings in mobile advertising.

Facebook mobile app install ads are already famous amongst publishers and developers. The targeting possibilities and the massive user base make them great to scale advertising efforts. And the “ease of use” makes Facebook a good platform to get started with user acquisition.

The growing user base of Instagram (800 million monthly active users as of September 2017) has already brought more than 1 million advertisers, and is now another place of choice for mobile app install ads.

Why Instagram ads have success

The list could be pretty long here, but below are the main factors that contribute to the success of advertising on Instagram.

Mobile-first platform

Instagram has always been a mobile-first platform, and has a high user engagement. The native ads display only on mobile users’ feeds. And look pretty much like standard posts.

If you find a way to catch users’ attention while staying true to the platform, this is a perfect fit for mobile app install ads.

Power Editor tool

The Power Editor is Facebook’s advanced advertising tool, whereas the Ads Manager is for more basic campaign creation.

With both tools, you can create both Instagram and Facebook ads.

This is great because:

  • You can do the same kind of advanced targeting than on Facebook
  • It makes it easy to try creatives on both.
  • You can re-use your best performing ads from one platform on the other. Do keep in mind the differences in usage between the two platforms though.

Focused on visuals

Instagram is a platform focused on visuals, making it perfect for visual ads.

The different formats allow you to put your photo and video creatives front and center. The fact that like standard video posts Instagram video ads autoplay make them even more eye catching.

A user base of millenials

85% of Instagram’s audience is under the age of 35, and it’s projected that by 2019 nearly two-thirds of all millenial smartphone users will use Instagram.

Instagram statistics on millenials

If you have a young audience, it’s a great place to advertise.

Instagram is pushing video – hard

Just like Facebook, Instagram is pushing the video medium in its app.

Besides allowing users to post videos in their feed, Instagram has added the Stories feature. Something very close to Snapchat stories, letting users publish 10s vertical videos. With an impressive growth and already more daily users than Snapchat Stories, Instagram is already leveraging Stories ads.

Instagram has also now launched live streaming video in Instagram Stories.

Publishers and types of apps advertising on Instagram

Sensor Tower has some interesting insights on Instagram App Install Ads in the US in its reports (here and here).

Now of course, not all ads on Instagram are app install ads. In fact, app install ads represented 26% of all ad impressions in Q2 2016.

Instagram percentage of app install ads

Even if most ads direct to the mobile web, Instagram users are already familiar with mobile app install ads on the platform and they are more and more common.

These ads are used mostly by games, shopping and entertainment app advertisers.

Instagram advertisers by type of adsSo which publishers spend the most of their dollars there? It varies per quarter, but this gives you a good idea.

Instagram top mobile advertisers

As you can see, there is a good mix of game and non-game apps advertising on Instagram.

A look into Instagram’s ad formats

Very much like Facebook, Instagram offers different ad formats that you can leverage. And whether they are photo or video ads they are quite similar to standard posts, with the addition of an optional (but you should use it) Call to Action.

Photo ads

Instagram photo app install ads

This replicates what most Instagram users are used to seeing in their feed, clearly making the picture the center element of the ad.

Show some of your app or game UI, and make it more engaging by displaying some of your game characters or real persons. Keep text at a minimum.

It should not look like a stock photo.

Video ads

Instagram started by allowing users to post 15s square videos. Making sure they would get used to seeing videos in their feed.

Since then, they’ve changed their technical requirements and videos can now be up to 60 seconds long. Like videos posted by users, they automatically play when appearing in the center of a user’s feed.

Instagram video ads allow you to leverage both sound and motion to show off your app and get users excited about it.

Already one in four Instagram ads are video ads.

Percentage of video ads on Instagram

Want some detailed advices on how to create great Instagram video ads? Check out our guide to Instagram mobile app install video ads.

Carousel ads

Like on Facebook, carousel ads let you include several photos and/or videos in a single ad. They initially display just like the photo or video ads, but when they swipe users can see more content.

Whether it uses photo or video creatives, it’s a great format to showcase different benefits of your app, or to tell a story.

It’s interesting to note that Instagram also has what it calls “Dynamic ads” to increase mobile app engagement for users that already have your app. It allows you to remind them of your app and keep them active. Or, if you have a shopping app to retarget them by showing content related to the products they viewed on your website.

Instagram Stories ads

Instagram Stories ads are a totally different beast.

The format and best practices are closer to what is done in Snap ads: vertical video, short and dynamic. A very interesting format bringing new possibilities!

Should you try mobile app installs on Instagram?

Before you start spending your advertising budget on Instagram ads, you should make sure that your audience/customer base is on Instagram. If that’s not the case, then it’s probably not worth exploring at the moment. If that’s the case, then try and understand better who they follow, what they like, etc.

Going with the point above, you should only consider Instagram advertising if you already have some following on the platform. Or if you’re at least working on it. You don’t want people to check your profile and see it empty.

Instagram can be a great place to try mobile app install ads, especially if you’re already familiar with the platform. Looking at Instagram’s growing user base and advanced targeting, it can also be a good way to scale your paid user acquisition efforts. If you’re really to give it a try, check out our article on how to create great Instagram video ads for mobile app install campaigns.


What kind of results have you had so far with advertising on Instagram?

More about Instagram Ads

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *