App promotion - what does it cost?

Does anyone have experience with app promotion? How much does it cost to promote an app, let’s say in Facebook or in Google? Question asked differently, how far would I get if I had 1000 USD available for an app?

I only have very limited experience with this, but I know there are different ways of promoting an app. For example, using Google Ads (was AdWords), you set various criteria (including what words you’d like to use to trigger your ad appearing, what kinds of devices you want the ad to appear on, how much you’re willing to pay per “click”, and the geographic location* that these ads should appear in), and then you only pay if someone follows the link to your site/app, but this is regardless of whether they then choose to download and install it from that location.
So I’m guessing $1000 might go “too far” - you could easily get started with a fraction of that amount and learn from responses/lack of responses, and improve the Ad campaign. Much of this will depend on how “connected” the group is, how geographically spread out they are, and what other social networks they’re active on. Are they already being bombarded with online advertisements from others, or will your ads be something new, and unique and worth looking into?
Perhaps others who have experience with Facebook ads can speak up.

Person to person app promotion works best for us in SE Asia. Not only will you overcome installations problems, but you can demonstrate and teach a new person how to use the app. Most people are not familiar with Bible apps or even their smart phones.

We also promoted our app using posters, websites, and flyers. The flyers go with each NT and audio player we distribute.

We have a FB page the promotes the app using video clips from the J film and other posts. I can see how many people click the “get app” button, but after 6 months it is a fairly small number. The reason for this is that the “get app” button appears at the top of the page, but does not appear in the FB post in the recipients feed. The user will have to click on the Page icon to go to the FB page first, then they will see the “get app” button. This is one to many clicks and people don’t do it. One solution is to put the playstore (or other) link to your app in the caption of every FB post. This way the link text appears below posts in the recipients feed as a link. They tap the link and go straight to the Playstore. Then if their phone is not too old, does not have pirated android, and has free memory (not full of photos) the app will install.

We have over 1500 followers of the FB page after 6 months. We post 1-2 times/week. We boost a post about once a month and spend about $10-15 for each post to a geographically selected area that included more than half of the language group. The FB page is great for people that use FB, but a large segment of the language group do not, and probably never will. Since the app will not help most of these non-FB users, we are trying to distribute audio players to many of them.

Be sure to ask the app users you already have how they think the best ways are to promote the app.

One idea I would be interested to pursue is a 1-2 minute video of a local person showing and installing the app on their friends phone. If people watch youtube, this might help overcome some of the obstacle to getting apps more used.

If you attend pastor meetings, you could also ask them all to take out the phones and walk them thru installing the app. Many pastors are unaware of how many translations there are and that they have access through apps, youversion, and scripture earth.

I bet there are more good ideas out there!

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The best way for promoting an app through ads will be Universal App Campaign through Google Ads. They also had some promotional offers for first time users (spend abc and get free ad credit of xyz).

I did a campaign for an app for Rs. 2500 (about $38) and got 3270 installs. The cost per install was set at Rs. 0.80 ($ 0.012). We also got about 50K impressions for the ad & 6500 clicks.

I suggest you start with a small amount (start with $25 or $50), and analyse the impact, learn what is working and what is not working, adjust your bid amount. And, try to do the campaign in local currency of the region rather than in USD. (Eg. if the language is from Malaysia and you are doing campaign from US in USD, you may incur higher costs.) One of my friends did another app campaign for the same language in USD, and his average cost per install was about $1 compared to my $ 0.012.

You can also promote app through Social media by creating fan pages, sharing the info with friends, etc.

See below links for some ideas :slight_smile:

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Thank you all for sharing. Lots of good input, great!

We have been doing some ad campaigns for our apps in Google ads (Universal App campaigns). I have noticed $0.05 as an average cost per install for most of the apps (it may vary depends on the location, search volumes etc. - may be much lesser for major languages). I would say, you will get atleast 15K-25K downloads for $1000.

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Facebook Ads are an option for app promotion but we have run into a major constraint when promoting an App created by SAB. In order to track app installs within Facebook Ads, you need to install/implement the Facebook SDK. Facebook SDK is a library that, for Android, needs to be add into a project using Android studio or any code editor available. Since SAB is software to build apps automatically, it means that we cannot add any source code library into it. This is something that we must be added by the SAB developer. Without Facebook SDK implementation, app ads are a bit of a blind spend as you just pay for Clicks and cannot pay for successful app installs.

@SAB team, would it be possible to add Facebook SDK capability to a future version of SAB?

6 replies and 157 views on this thread about app promotion (by Oct 14, 2020)
Scripture apps are now available in well over 1000 languages.
As Roger said early on, “I bet there are more good ideas out there!”

It would be great to hear what has (or hasn’t) worked around in a few more places and projects and to know what areas people need (or could offer) help or training.

We’ve just started to experiment with Google Ads to promote Scripture apps for SIL Mexico Branch. I’ve run campaigns to promote 3 different apps in the last month or so, and spent about $34 US total. For that amount of money, we’ve gotten over 1,000 clicks, 75,000 impressions, and 116 app downloads, averaging $0.30 per install. Each campaign has gotten a little better in terms of installs (26, 37, and 53, respectively).

So far I’ve been pleased with the results, but I feel like there’s a lot more I need to learn!


We are using Google Ads Universal app campaigns for our Global Bible Apps since June 2020 and seeing some good results. We got almost 340K+ downloads for 75+ apps at an average cost of 6 cents/download, and we also noticed that the app engagement (reading/listening hours) increased during this period.

These are some helpful links for starting Google Ads campaigns :

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