How a Brain-Training App Drove 1.7 Million Downloads on Snapchat in Just 2 Months

Targeted adult-geared audience

Peak Labs makes two wellness-oriented apps. - Credit by Sources: iStock, Peak Labs
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When you think of platforms that help developers drive millions of downloads of their apps, Facebook and Google are probably the two biggest sources of distribution that you think of. But what about Snapchat?

Four months into launching a self-serve ad platform that opens up Snapchat’s ad inventory to all marketers, Peak Labs is seeing some initial success with Snap’s app-install ads. Peak Labs makes two apps aimed at adults: One that tests users’ cognitive skills and another that offers virtual coloring books with intricate and detailed designs like a flower.

In August, Peak Labs began running app-install ads within the Stories section of Snapchat that include a ‘swipe up’ call-to-action that prompts users to download the apps. After two months, the company has netted 1.7 million downloads, per Snap, which made it Peak Labs’ second-biggest marketing channel for August, with only Facebook contributing more downloads.

“We have this clear view where we want to be where our audience is and reach this audience—we try Pinterest, we try Google AdWords, we try all of the in-game ads,” said Tom Williams, head of marketing at Peak Labs.

In terms of cost-per-install (or CPI), Williams said that the Snapchat buy had a 50 percent lower CPI than other platforms. Peak Labs offers free and paid versions of its app, with paid users getting access to more content, so Williams said that he bases the success of an app-install campaign on two metrics: CPI and the lifetime value of subscribed users.

For a campaign in August that promoted Brain Training—the app that tests users’ cognitive skills—Peak Labs’ creative promoted a ‘brain teaser’ that asked users to put together a puzzle.

To build a campaign, “What we require is a set of tools that allows us to throw a hundred ideas at, everything from the type of ad you’re looking at now to more user-focused experiences or visuals from the product,” Williams added.


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@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.