Q&A: How a mobile app increases downloads with Twitter Ads

By Marissa Window

Recent stats reveal that the average American is spending 2.8 hours a day using mobile devices. 90% of that time is spent within apps. But with so many apps out there how can your brand reach your target audience and increase downloads?

One brand that stands out with their mobile app marketing strategy and targeted Twitter Ads is @smartnews. We chatted with Adeed Choudhury, manager of growth at SmartNews, to learn how they use Twitter to market their app.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Adeed Choudhury and I manage all paid marketing at SmartNews. Prior to this role, I’ve worked in User Acquisition in mobile gaming and in Finance at RBI (umbrella corp of Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes).

Tell us a bit about SmartNews.

SmartNews is a personalized news discovery app that uses machine learning technology to curate what articles are shown. Our company is headquartered in Japan and first launched in 2012. Since launch, we’ve integrated more than 250+ major news publishers (CNN, Vice, People, Vox, Fox News, etc.) and have built a 16 person team in New York and San Francisco to scale our US user base.

What’s a typical work day look like for you?

The day starts with checking in on our high-level metrics: DAU, installs, time spent in app, articles read, sessions, monetization, etc. I then work with the rest of our User Acquisition team to take a deep dive into each network and look into CPIs, bids, and pacing to determine if any optimizations need to be made. Once we feel comfortable with how our networks are performing, I then move on to more longer terms projects like brainstorming creatives or ad-hoc analysis on our users using SQL.

How does Twitter fit into your marketing mix?

We primarily use Twitter to increase downloads through the mobile app promotion campaign objective. Since launching our Twitter campaigns a couple of months ago, Twitter has played a large role in our overall user acquisition strategy. Twitter has become one of our top performing channels as we’ve consistently seen strong success from a retention and monetization standpoint. We believe Twitter has a strong community of people expressing their opinions which matches with our avid news reader audience profile.

How do you use Twitter Ads to amplify your marketing efforts?

We use Twitter Ads mobile app promotion to target installed apps categories, as well as follower targeting on handles that we believe have an affinity to our app (e.g. news, finance, media outlets, media personalities, etc.). We also leverage extensive creative testing upon the targets that we believe are indicative towards our most engaged audiences.

How do you test and optimize your Twitter Ads? How do you decide which creatives to use?

In terms of campaigns, we typically launch campaigns with targeting that we think would resonate with our audience. Once the campaign has run for 2-3 days, we use early CPI and engagement data to optimize bids and budgets in order to achieve our desired KPI targets. We generally like to start broader to surface high potential targets before splitting the target group into more narrow segments. For creatives, we launch campaigns with our top performing historical creatives in the past based primarily on eCVR and CPI performance.

Do you have any tips for brands looking to reach their target audience?

Always have a list of campaigns and experiments that you would like to run. Prioritize based on (1) likelihood of success and (2) scale. Work your way through the priority list by A/B testing to find the campaigns that hit your KPI. Our most successful campaigns have come from starting with broad campaigns before narrowing down. The more granular and specific you are in your targeting and creatives, the more likely you will have success; however, if targeting is too granular to the point that you’re being served less than 1,000 impressions a day, you likely won’t achieve your desired results.

Do you have any key results you’d like to share?

We’ve been able to successfully acquire very high-quality users and find that our retention on Twitter is about 20% higher compared to other ad platforms.

Any final tips for mobile app developers looking to increase downloads with Twitter?

If you’re starting on Twitter, prepare with a game-plan and prioritize based on expected scale. Don’t be afraid to change the order of testing based on early initial results.

Leverage all targeting and tools available on Twitter while staying disciplined to your KPI goals. By prioritizing your time on the top performing campaigns that are seeing the highest volume and engagement you'll be well on your way to achieve your KPIs.

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