App Users Acquired Through Facebook Perform as Well as Organic Users

Earlier this month, Facebook launched new mobile app ads to drive engagement and conversions. This builds on Facebook’s launch of its mobile app install ads last year, which Facebook says generated more than 145 million new app installs. Now, and in light of today's Facebook earnings call, our new research shows that 81% of app users acquired through Facebook advertising use the new app more than once, compared to 78% of new users acquired organically. This demonstrates all the more promise for Facebook’s mobile ad business and the opportunity its offerings have for marketers.

For this study, we reviewed the retention of Android, iPhone and iPad users during a 60-day period ending Sept. 10, 2013. Acquisitions that were attributed to Facebook mobile app install ads were compared to organic users who weren’t attributed to any other advertising channel.

Localytics Facebook mobile app install ad effectiveness

Our data shows that Facebook mobile app install ads offer much more value than a short-term boost in app store rankings and that Facebook users overall retain just as well as those acquired organically. During the 60-day period in this study, 81% of new users acquired through Facebook had more than one app usage, compared to 78% of organically acquired users.

Among new users that returned to the app one to five times in the first two months, those acquired through Facebook were slightly more engaged and had between 1% and 2% higher retention rates. On the other hand, among the new users that returned to the app six or more times in the first two months, organic users were slightly more engaged showing between 1% and 2% higher retention rates.

Marketers were previously skeptical of Facebook as a marketing channel. According to a recent survey of 3,000 marketing professionals from Social Media Examiner, only 37% of marketers thought Facebook ads work. In 2012, General Motors made industry headlines when they pulled budget from Facebook web advertising altogether, concluding that the ads had little impact on consumers’ car purchases. They are likely to project these attitudes on Facebook’s mobile advertising, but our data offers a reason for them to re-evaluate that position.


What This Means For Your App Strategy

Armed with the knowledge that users acquired via Facebook perform just as well as users acquired organically, app marketers should confidently experiment with Facebook acquisition campaigns to expand their customer acquisition efforts.


Localytics Helps You Measure Acquisition Beyond Downloads

Localytics provides Facebook attributions through participation in the Facebook Mobile Measurement Partner program and provides performance metrics, including acquisition campaign performance, lifetime value, post-install conversions and cohort-based retention rates across acquisition channel -- enabling customers to measure performance well beyond the first download.

Localytics customers who are using Localytics Marketing can manage their user acquisition campaigns under the Acquire tab in the Localytics dashboard. If you’re not a Localytics customer or are not using Localytics Marketing, we would love to show you around and hear about how you’re optimizing your marketing investment and acquiring new users. Contact us today for a demo of our acquisition capabilities at