Like most app marketers, chances are that you are running your ad campaigns aiming to increase install rates. However, when creating your ads, beautiful design is only part of the equation. You want to arm yourself with data. This will help you understand which creative path drives more installs. Showing a compelling ad to the right people plays a key role in bringing qualified users to a mobile app, not to mention it contributes to lowering your user acquisition costs. But what makes an ad creative compelling?

Hichem Belouizdad, senior sales manager at Liftoff, recently took the stage at MobileOne in Paris, to prove that subtle changes in an advertisement can make a big difference in CTI (click-to-install) rate. To use his words: “Compelling ad creative is a balance of art and science – blending design innovation with data optimization”. Now, let’s jump into his findings based on the analysis of 25,000 different ad creatives.

1. Simplicity is key

Simple interactions and fewer elements worked better for the dating app happn. When comparing 2 ads, a version with a ‘screenshot’ of a user profile by itself to another with an image of a phone with a user profile on the screen, the former saw a CTI rise by 164% over the latter. Less elements equaled more installs.



2. E-commerce: Think product not branding

Show pictures of your products rather than lifestyle images! An ad showing a collage of products (Version B) turned out a 56% higher CTI than the version with a lifestyle image of two women (Version A) for the French e-commerce website Showroomprive.  Liftoff tip? When it comes to e-commerce, show your products, especially if those are shoes or bags.  


3. Use in-app screenshots rather than lifestyle images

The German website GoEuro allows users to compare and book trains, buses, or flights anywhere in Europe. The brand saw a 45% CTI lift when the user was shown an ad with the prices of tickets (Version A) over the version with an image of a young lady in a train station (Version B).

Liftoff Ad Creative Go Euro


4. Go for gameplay rather than logo

The game Fishing Clash had a 50% CTI lift when its users saw an ad with a fish that just got caught (Version B) instead of an image of the game logo (Version A). Liftoff’s  tip to app marketers? Always show gameplay and use images in PSD format rather than JPEG or PNG as they have higher quality and stand out better on mobile.


5. Show consistency across ads

To see more return on your ad campaigns, you need to stay consistent with the way your ads look no matter the format you choose. To help users quickly recognize your app stick with the same elements across your ads rather than going the diversity route.

click-to-install rate


6. Find (and explore) the key benefits of your app

Test all parts of your app, try to find its most interesting aspect and explore it. One of the top 10 e-commerce websites, Joom, saw a 69% CTI increase when users were exposed to an ad with one product at a time instead of an ad that showcased multiple products.


7. E-commerce: A/B Test Product Images

Be clear, be simple and A/B test everything! In this example users were exposed to the same message, same logo, and 2 creative versions with a subtle difference: one ad showcased just the shoes (Version A), and the other displayed the shoes on a model while adding t-shirts and clothes (Version B). The CTI rate for the Version A ad was 33% higher. 


8. Add animation to show more about your app

Including animation to help users understand what is the purpose of your app results in a higher CTI rate. The application Less (which is now part of Blablacar) had a 72% CTI lift when users were also shown a banner with an animation of a car going from a point A to a point B rather than a banner with a simple message/image.


Bottom line?

The most compelling ad is not necessarily the most beautiful one. Whether you are using banner, native, interstitial, playable or rewarded video ads, always test the full effectiveness of your campaign and let data be the foundation for your decision-making process.