App Installs: Snapchat vs Instagram vs Facebook - Moburst

App Installs: Snapchat vs Instagram vs Facebook

Gilad Bechar Gilad Bechar | 10.10.19

Snapchat vs Instagram vs Facebook. The debate rages on, and we often get asked which platform is truly the winner when it comes to mobile app promotion on social media.

So, which platform is the Demon of Downloads, the Inspiration of Installations, the King of Conversions? Read on as we explore which platform is the winner when it comes to smashing your mobile app promotion goals.

Facebook vs Instagram vs Snapchat

The Platforms

Lining up each social network against the other is a study in the biggest names in the business, with billions of dollars in advertising revenue. Facebook is the “OG”, and still boasts incredible statistics when it comes to ROI. Instagram is becoming extremely popular as the go-to platform as Facebook’s audience becomes slightly older and has the added advantage of allowing advertisers to really showcase their app’s uniqueness thanks to the platform’s focus on imagery and video.

With Facebook owning Instagram, there are additional synergies to be enjoyed. Their advertising algorithm can be used to optimize for key metrics (e.g. CPI) to ensure that the right mix of ads is shown on both platforms.

The audiences matter too. Snapchat’s audience is generally younger than Instagram’s, which in turn is younger than Facebook’s.

All this needs to be taken into account when approaching each platform as the potential winner when it comes to your mobile app install campaign.

Advertising On Snapchat vs Instagram vs Facebook

Mobile app promotion on social media is not for novices. There are so many intricacies, so many nuances, that it’s no wonder there are whole mobile agencies out there dedicated to one particular social media platform. Let’s look at each platform:

Facebook vs Instagram & Snapchat

How many people use Facebook? An incredible 2.4 billion monthly active users (how many of those Instagram accounted for is hotly debated) means that when it comes to reaching a wide audience, Facebook still has what it takes. Advertising through Facebook also gives you access to Facebook’s Audience network.

Facebook App Launch
Facebook App Launch

When it comes to app installs, Facebook offers a variety of options and features that are really powerful:

Mobile app install ads

Direct users straight to the relevant App Store with mobile app install ads. Using the “App Installs” advertising objective, you can reach users across Facebook, Instagram, and the Audience Network, and make it easy for them to download your app. These ads link directly to the Apple App Store, Google Play or Kindle Fire store. You can also optimize the delivery of your app installs ads for specific metrics that you set up, such as app installs, app events or high-value customers.

Facebook even offers playable ads, that let people play your game before they actually install your app.

App engagement ads

Boost app engagement with these powerful ads from Facebook. Using “Traffic” or “Conversions” advertising objectives, you can drive app engagement for users who already have your app. The Traffic objective brings users back into your app, and the Conversion objective drives specific actions such as making purchases or playing a specific level. Again, these can be optimized for clicks or daily unique reach.

You can also boost your Facebook marketing with custom calls-to-action. This enables you to promote your app through your Facebook Page’s business profile. Show off screenshots and videos, benefits and use a custom call-to-action button like “Shop Now” or “Play Game” to direct your visitors into your app.

Facebook Ad tips

  • Use a split test to maximize ROI
  • Targeting is super important: Facebook lets you target according to categories like device, OS, demographic factors and interests
  • It also lets you target users based on factors like segment, level of activity, and purchase amount

So are Facebook ads worth it? Absolutely

Instagram vs Facebook & Snapchat

As a platform, Instagram-user statistics are super interesting:

  • Instagram now has 1bn monthly active users.
  • Over 60% of users log in daily, making it the second most engaged network after Facebook
  • 37% of United States internet users are now on Instagram
  • 90% of Instagram users are younger than 35

These Instagram statistics say a lot about the types of apps that are likely to be successful with the platform. For many users, Instagram is the way they discover new products and apps.

The mechanics behind Instagram ads are similar to those of Facebook, but you’ll want to optimize specifically for the platform and understand how things like a post on Instagram can be leveraged for app installs. App installs are most powerful within Instagram stories (full-screen vertical ads appear between Instagram user stories).

A common question we often get is “Is Instagram better than Facebook”? The truth is that you can have your cake and eat it too. By setting up your ads with enough creatives optimized for each platform, you can get the most out of both Facebook and Instagram, and start optimizing for the channel that gives you the best results. You can also brand on Instagram which can be a powerful tool in your Instagram mobile marketing arsenal.

Key Optimization Areas

  • Video ads should be high resolution with no black bars (“pillar boxing”)
  • For images, more than 20% text can reduce delivery
  • Carousel ads are an excellent way to boost app installs
  • Consider Instagram Explore as an alternative way to boost installs
  • Multiple calls to action are supported, such as “Install Now” or “Use App”

Are Instagram ads worth it? 100%.

Snapchat vs Instagram & Facebook

Depending on your target audience, Snapchat could be the perfect place to advertise your app. With over 200m people with a Snapchat account, you don’t want to be missing out here. To promote an app on Snapchat, it’s worth keeping a couple of things in mind.

Snapchat has made app-install campaigns really easy from a user perspective. One swipe opens an embedded App Store or Google Play Store page, after which the user taps again and the app installs in the background.

Snapchat gives the following tips for app install campaigns on the platform:

  • Showcase key metrics to demonstrate the value of the app
  • Feature a person using the app
  • Showcase the app UX
  • Use the creative to showcase what the user can expect from the app
  • Feature a single-minded message from the opening frame
  • Add a visual or a voice call to action that is relevant to the app and its value proposition
  • Try to align the voiceover content to the call to action (the audio should say ‘Install’ or ‘Install Now’ if you plan to use the INSTALL_NOW call to action and vice versa for DOWNLOAD)
  • Educate Users as to what the app does visually

The basics for Snapchat are similar to those of Facebook and Instagram: use the platform’s strengths to grab and engage users and pass them elegantly down your funnel while eliminating any points of friction.

Winning On All Platforms

There are a few imperative moves you should be making across any platform you’re using to promote mobile app installs:


Standing out on any of these platforms is tough. Eye-grabbing creatives can ensure that users take notice of what you’re offering, and can be a powerful multiplier when it comes to optimizations across key metrics. These should be used to encourage users to take action.


At some point in your campaign, the user you’ve worked so hard to get is going to land on your listing on the App Store (generally speaking Google Play or Apple App Store). This is a crucial moment in your funnel, and your ASO (App Store Optimization) has to be at 110% in order to ensure that the user completes the installation process.

We can’t emphasize this enough. When it comes to winning with mobile app downloads, especially on these social media platforms, you have to be continuously measuring and optimizing. This is the secret that separates good campaigns from great ones.

Snapchat vs Instagram vs Facebook

So, who’s the winner? (suspense-filled silence…)

From what we’ve seen with our clients, who are spread across multiple industries and continents, each app type naturally has a platform that will hit it out of the park for them. So the winner for you will depend largely on your mobile app type – whether it’s a game or utility-type app, what kind of game, etc. – as well as other factors such as your goals and budget.

To find the perfect social media platform to turbocharge all your key metrics for your mobile app, get in touch with us. Our award-winning, unique strategies leverage the best of each platform to ensure you get the most value possible for your ad spend, and ROI that will blow you away.

To reach out, just drop us a line.


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