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20 App Install Ads That Are Winning The User Acquisition Game

Shivkumar M Shivkumar M has over 20 years of experience shaping technology product and GTM strategy. With B2B SaaS expertise across industries, he leads product launches, adoption, and GTM as Director of Product Marketing.
20 App Install Ads That Are Winning The User Acquisition Game

App install ads are like shirtless Abercrombie models strategically standing outside a store entrance, enticing potential customers.
Fortunately, you don’t need to wait for prospective app users to walk by so you can impress them with six-pack abs. You do, however, want to attract them to install your app with a term inspired by Abercrombie’s customer acquisition strategy: “six-pack ads.”
Mobile app marketers today have access to multiple channels for user acquisition. Some of these strategies include social media app install campaigns, in-app banner ads, and interstitial ads, among others. So what is an app install ad and how are successful mobile marketers using them to drive their user acquisition strategies?
Continue reading for insights into real-world examples and strategies for your app install ads or jump to our full infographic below.

Table of Contents

What Is an App Install Ad?

App install ads prompt users to download an app straight from the ad. They typically use paid acquisition strategies that funnel the advertisement’s audience directly to your app store listing for near-frictionless installation. These ads can be shown within search results, social media feeds, websites, apps, and more.
These ads are essential for a successful user acquisition strategy, which pushes them up the priority list for mobile marketers. If you can answer a search query with an offer to solve the user’s problem or intrigue someone with your concept in their social media feed, your app install ads are more likely to be successful.

How App Install Ads Work

App install ads come in many forms but are laser-focused on their goal of user acquisition.
So how do app install ads drive user acquisition? By showing up on channels with a direct CTA to download an app, app install ad campaigns can bolster installs in quick succession, helping improve ASO and boosting your app store ranking.
Let’s take a look at some examples of ads that are driving hundreds, thousands, and even millions of people to install apps. Below are 20 examples of app install ads across mobile search, app store search, social media, interstitial ads, and more.

One of the most effective strategies for acquiring new customers is answering their questions in the form of a value proposition. This is the benefit of targeting relevant keyword-driven traffic in your ad strategy.

1. DoorDash

Let’s take a search term like “food delivery near me” as an example. We can assume the users behind such a query are interested in just that — getting food delivered. Mobile apps like GrubHub and DoorDash are great services to show up among the search results, even in the form of an advertisement.
DoorDash app install ad
DoorDash’s app install ad simply states the value proposition of speedy food delivery from hundreds of restaurants. They also lean into their immaculate five-star rating from over 2.5 million users.

2. Bumble

bumble app intall ad
It’s common for advertisers to target the keywords commonly used to find their competitors. In this example, Bumble shows up in searches for Tinder, a dating app competitor.
They also take this opportunity to explain what differentiates them from their competitors: they make dating safer. They also support the proposition that you will “meet new people,” with the social proof that the app has over 40 million users.

Facebook App Install Ads

It’s no coincidence that ads for apps are shown while you’re inside a mobile app — advertising an app within an app, very meta.
We couldn’t do these ads justice if we simply grouped all app install ads on social media together, so we’ll cover some of the top platforms individually. First up is Facebook, which along with having a combined core product reach of 3.45 billion people per quarter in 2020, is also an attractive platform because of its strong targeting capabilities.*

3. Target

Target app install ad screenshot
This example from Target starts by prompting users with the clearly defined goal of an easier shopping experience, then provides a simple solution with their “Install Now” CTA. They use minimal copy and instead rely on a bright, eye-catching image to draw users in.

4. QuickHire

Quickhire app install ad screenshot
Should you use emojis in your app install ads? QuickHire thinks so. When we looked at emoji use in push notifications, we found that emojis improve CTR by an average of 38% — but it’s important to consider the industry before sticking a laughing face emoji at the end of any ad.
The top industries that can benefit from emoji use in marketing are:

  • Business and finance
  • Utilities and services
  • Retail

With minimal copy, QuickHire uses a subtle, eye-catching emoji to draw users in and relies on video to keep them engaged. It’s worth looking into other avenues like emojis or videos to grab user attention.

App Install Ads on Twitter

Twitter is a great place to advertise products that market to millennials since 80% of Twitter users are affluent millennials.*
Mobile marketers understand how important it is to target users on specific devices. If you happen to use Twitter’s mobile app, you will likely see more ads for mobile apps, compared to Twitter’s desktop experience where more web-based advertisements are shown.
It’s also an important audience to advertise mobile apps to since 85% of millennials have smart devices, compared to 79% of generation X and 54% of baby boomers.

5. Blinkist

Blinkist app install ad
Blinkist has a unique approach to the common time limitation associated with reading. They consolidate the key insights from nonfiction books into 15-minute summaries. They also condense their install ad into an easily digestible GIF.
They include more information in the Tweet but simplify their value proposition right above the “install” button: “Books in 15 minutes.” It’s worth leaning into your value proposition when character count space is confined.

6. 7-Eleven

7Eleven app install ad
7-Eleven used its advertising budget to create a professional commercial for their app install ad. They’re also in partnership with a film studio to promote an upcoming Pokémon movie. It’s a brilliant strategy: taking advantage of a popular film franchise to entice their existing fan base to download the 7-Eleven app.
Collaborations like this can be a great strategy between two or more mobile app companies to cross-promote to your strategic partner’s audience.

7. RoboKiller

Robokiller app install ad screenshot
This example from RoboKiller is evidence of how novel solutions for common problems can quickly spread within networks. Getting a user to install the app from the ad is great, but if people share the ad with their network, the result is viral marketing.
RoboKiller uses social proof in the form of news coverage to get more likes, comments, and shares. With over 46,000 likes and 9,000 retweets, we can safely say this app install ad campaign was successful. If your mobile app addresses a common pain point, take the time to clearly explain your solution and how it’s uniquely capable of relieving that pain.

8. Experian

Experian app install ad
While your FICO® score may not have you on the edge of your seat the way the Olympic gymnastics final might, we think that Experian capitalizing on the buzz over the Olympics definitely stuck the landing.
Like Robokiller, Experian also showcases social proof, but in the form of millions of five-star ratings. With minimal visual clutter, Experian is able to show their value to customers in a way that’s clean, simple, and exciting. When creating app install ads, think about tying your messaging to current events to build excitement with your audience.

9. TikTok

TikTok app install ad screenshot
TikTok is a short-form video sharing platform that’s become one of the primary social media platforms for younger generations.* With 60% of their estimated 88.7 million users being Gen Z, TikTok is quickly gaining market share against other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.*
In a move that’s as ironic as it is genius, TikTok ran app install ads on Twitter that highlight the former’s unique brand proposition without mentioning competitors. Tik Tok’s app install ad features an example piece of content showing what’s possible with their app.
TikTok is able to advertise to their target user base in a similar app. When advertising on a competitor’s site, convey your unique value proposition without directly tearing down theirs.

Snapchat’s App Install Ads

93% of people between 18 and 24 use Snapchat. This makes Snapchat a great platform to reach millennial and generation z audiences.
Instead of an install button, Snapchat advertising has a swipe-up feature that’s used across the app, creating a native advertising experience for users. Another benefit of Snapchat app install ads is the Deep link attachment, which allows users who have already downloaded the app to instead land on a specific in-app page.

10. Acorns

Acorns mobile ad
With a growing number of millennials and generation z not saving for retirement, it’s more important than ever to convince these demographics to start.* Acorns presents investing and saving as approachable activities for their audience on Snapchat using the tagline, “invest spare change.”
When advertising on various platforms, understand which demographics you’ll commonly reach and how best to communicate with them.

11. AFK Arena Game

AFK arena games mobile ad
When promoting games, it’s a great strategy to advertise with actual gameplay. Including proof of the game’s graphics, mechanics, physics, or other relevant visuals can be a great way to incentivize installation and trial.
AFK Arena does well to show how the game functions. This can make the game feel more approachable and even onboard users with a quick demonstration of how the game is played.

App Install Ads on Pinterest

Pinterest has 478 million monthly users and a market of over 60% women.* People using the app are already looking for new ideas compared to traditional social media, which are more popular for staying up to date with accounts users are already following.
With promoted app pins, Pinterest users can download apps in a single click without leaving the Pinterest app.

12. AIBY Inc

aiby mobile download screenshot
Pinterest is commonly used for finding trendy images and their user base is uniquely open to new ideas. AIBY Inc capitalizes on this with short videos showing multiple capabilities of their platform to fit various aesthetics.
Since Pinterest is a visual app, marketers can use visually engaging content like video examples to drive conversions.

App Install Ads on Instagram

Businesses are using Instagram as one of the most effective channels for connecting with their target markets, since 71% of users are under the age of 35 and 80% follow at least one business.
Over a third of Instagram’s users have made a purchase on mobile and with average engagement rates of 2.2%, Instagram is one of the best places for businesses to advertise.*

13. Wag

Wag app install ad
Wag uses the sophistication of Instagram’s (read: Facebook’s) ads manager tool to find segments of users who are good fits for their app’s service.* If the app has yet to expand internationally, or even nationally, they can select specific locations where the app is currently available.
The ad manager tool also allows for detailed targeting based on demographic and psychographic segmentation. This means Wag can target people who fit into the pet ownership customer profile and are among the working class — all the more likely to require dog walking services.

14. Albert

Albert app install add screenshot
Albert’s ad takes advantage of a familiar sight for iOS users: the iMessage thread. It also demonstrates how easy the product can be to interface with and add value to the user’s life.
Subscription services have grown in popularity and can easily be forgotten and unused, yet still withdraw money from the user’s account. Albert’s solution is straightforward and user-friendly, and although it only scratches the surface of their product’s feature set, it’s an easy way for audience members to quickly grasp a common use case.
When advertising your app on Instagram, take advantage of visuals to inform users how the app functions and relieves their pain point.

YouTube’s App Install Ads

With 75% of adults watching YouTube on their mobile devices, this is a great place to advertise your mobile application.
YouTube is also available in 91 countries and over 80 languages, which makes it a great platform for a global growth strategy.*

15. 7NOW

7Eleven mobile delivery screenshot
7-Eleven is making a big push for mobile. In this YouTube app install ad, they are promoting a delivery service for food and alcohol. They also make a generous offer within their ad: the first three deliveries are free.
Many food delivery apps employ referral marketing campaigns to offer a single free delivery. 7NOW’s strategy is to get users hooked on the product after three free trials.
Include a generous offer in your app install ad so that the decision to download is as easy as possible for users.

16. Sideline

Sideline app install ad screenshot
Sideline might take the cake for the most concise app install ad copy. Their value proposition is straightforward and easy to grasp: two numbers, one phone.
It’s so clear, in fact, that they didn’t feel the need to differentiate the description from the title from “2nd Phone Number” to “Get a Second Number.” Enough said.
When drafting your app install ads, keep the ad copy and visuals as simple as possible while still clearly conveying what your app does.

Although banner ads have reportedly seen a decline of average click-through rates to 0.06%, they are still relevant in certain situations.* If an app’s business model is built on advertising revenue, it’s important for the engagement with the app’s core feature to remain intact while displaying the ad.
Hyper-casual games, for example, can sacrifice a portion of the screen to make way for a monetization strategy in some cases.

17. Golf Rival Game

Golf rival app install ad
In this example, Golf Rival is cross-promoting their game within another hyper-casual game. This is a similar strategy to the higher level approach of advertising mobile apps on mobile devices. Games want to take advantage of audiences who already play mobile games.
Consider the various channels and platforms where your app install advertisement will reach an audience and align them with your target market. If you’re in the B2B space, for example, Twitter is a great place to reach your audience. If your app is more B2C, Instagram and Snapchat would be good options.

Interstitial Ads

These full-page ads are shown in between two pages or views within the app experience. In between two levels of a game, for example, interstitial ads take advantage of this time to provide a fully immersive advertisement.

18. Wordscapes

Wordscapes app install add
In this example, Wordscapes takes advantage of the time between games of solitaire. It’s a great time to catch users as they prepare for the next screen or another round of gameplay.
Consider using interstitial ads in your user acquisition strategy to take advantage of the user’s undivided attention. Unlike banner ads that become peripheral and possibly go unnoticed, interstitial ads can be great ways to inform users quickly while you have their attention.

App Store Ads

App discovery takes place primarily on the App Store. In fact, 70% of App Store visitors use search to find apps and the conversion rate for Apple’s search ads is reportedly 50%.*
With success rates like this, these ads are essential for mobile marketers to get right.

19. JUMP

Jump app install ad
In this example, JUMP places an app install ad within the App Store search. This means that people searching the App Store for a scooter app will be first shown JUMP. These ads appear above the fold which creates the feeling of superiority as the first search result.

20. Coinbase

Coinbase app install ad
Coinbase is capitalizing on the popularity of cryptocurrency by targeting the names of specific cryptocurrencies on the App Store. In this example, Coinbase appears as the top result for Bitcoin, which currently holds the top spot for most popular cryptocurrency.
Thinking about different stages in the buyer funnel can help you target terms with higher conversion rates.

H2: Bonus: App Install Ads Postmates Case Study

Are you interested to see how these app install ads can culminate into a fully formed user acquisition strategy?
Postmates is clearly taking advantage of app install ads, as you can find them on nearly every advertising channel we’ve discussed above. They’re clearly winning the user acquisition game with over 5 million installs on Android and a combined 124,000 ratings on Android and iOS.**
Interactive Snapchat Ad
postmates snapchat ad
Postmates has created a fun and interactive app install ad on Snapchat which definitely stands out in a crowded advertising environment. Users must tap (make that a clever tap) the button to break the glass and win their coupon code.
App Store Ad
Postmates also targets the app store to advertise in the competitive food delivery market. When searching for “food delivery,” their ad placement can be one of the first results. This makes it more likely for app store users to trust the legitimacy of these results.
Your App Install Ads
As they say, take this with a grain of salt. We say, pepper your users with the highest quality and most engaging app install ads possible.
Repetition and familiarity are powerful forces in advertising. As your app install ads become more recognizable on a user’s favorite platforms, people will become more likely to install your app. If you want valuable insights into your omnichannel marketing strategy, sign up for a demo of CleverTap’s powerful suite of mobile marketing tools. You can also learn more by checking out some of our white papers, webinars, and other resources.

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Last updated on March 4, 2024