TikTok Ads Boost Social App’s Store Ranking While Increasing Profit Margin

*Name of App has been Anonymized to Protect Client’s Data*


Cheaper Cost Per Install


Increase in Profit Margin


Increase in Organic Downloads

The Hypothesis

We have a well known mobile app in the social / health and wellness space that we run Facebook/Instagram and Snapchat ads for. They’re ranked in the top 100 apps for Health and Fitness in the US iOS store and top US 75 in the Android store. The goal of our ad campaigns on Facebook were to drive CPIs under $2.00 and Cost Per Purchase (they have a subscription) under $10. For Snapchat, we had ad campaigns that were mainly focused on installs. Since installs were cheaper on Snapchat (around $0.55 – $0.60 each), the idea was to drive a good amount of daily installs to increase our app store ranking both for the category and also for specific keywords which would drive organic growth. Snapchat worked well for driving the installs, but the traffic wasn’t that quality, which meant return on ad spend from a revenue perspective wasn’t as good as Facebook. Since TikTok is such a new platform, the hypothesis was that we could drive even cheaper installs than Snapchat which would mean we could be as efficient from a revenue perspective as Facebook while also driving the organic ranking that we needed.

The Solution

We decided to take our best performing Instagram story and Snapchat creatives over to TikTok, but layer in some text on the ads since TikTok in-feed ads don’t allow header and body text like a Facebook ad would. We first launched 5 interest audiences with 4 – 5 creatives each, while we gathered data for a lookalike audience. We were using Adjust for our deep link tracking, which was great because of the amount of data TikTok has on its mobile app users.

We set our CPI target fairly low – to about $0.20 (dramatically lower then our $2.00 CPI on Facebook and our $0.55 CPI on Snapchat). We started getting about 500 installs a day at $0.25, but because we were bidding so low on Cost Per Install, we weren’t able to scale the budget past $100 – $150 per day. We let this campaign run for a few days and by then we had enough data from our deep links to start running lookalikes. We ran app install lookalikes, sign up, and purchase lookalikes. Sign up lookalikes ended up working the best and we were able to scale to spending $600 – $700 per day at a $0.02 – $0.03 cost per click and a $0.32 – $0.38 cost per install. The best part? Efficiency on install to purchase was 15% cheaper than Facebook/Instagram ads, which meant the audience was fairly quality. We’re now working to scale budget while maintaining return on ad spend from a purchase stand point. We’ve also diverted about 90% of our spend from Snapchat over to TikTok.

The Result

Cost Per mobile app installs were 70% – 80% cheaper than Facebook, and about 40% cheaper than Snapchat. Cost per paid acquisition ended up being 15% more efficient than Facebook. Because we were able to add another CPI channel to also grow organic, we’re seeing about a 30% increase in organic downloads on the app stores.