Leveraging social media to drive HCP app installs

Our client had successfully developed an app designed to educate European GPs on early diagnosis of heart valve disease. While general activity to raise awareness was well underway in offline channels, there was still a specific need to drive traffic to the app’s microsite from desktop traffic and to secure installs from mobile channels. With a relatively limited budget, the client approached us to help them achieve these objectives.


When considering the best approach, we took the following significant factors into account:

  • To succeed the campaign required us to connect with a hard-to-reach GP audience and to motivate them to complete a relatively ‘hard’ call-to-action in terms of an app install. Consequently, we needed a channel which was capable of careful targeting, as well as making the most of the budget available.
  • While the app had initially been designed to roll out in the Netherlands, campaigns for Germany and the UK were on the near-horizon so we needed a solution which was easily scalable across territories.
  • Following a successful project to launch the same client on Facebook, we had already enjoyed some strong results from activity targeting HCPs, so this presented a valuable opportunity to leverage the channel still further and help the client benefit from their initial investment.

These factors led us to prioritising Facebook as our primary digital channel, with a small amount of paid search activity, along with digital banners deployed on the other relevant HCP websites.


With the decision made to prioritise Facebook and clear objectives already set, our next tasks were to test both ad formats and targeting:

  • Format:
    • Given the limited amount of Facebook advertising our client had previously conducted, we wanted to A/B test both traffic driving and app install ads to understand how each would perform with an HCP audience. This approach would also allow us to easily flex the campaign to align with the client’s evolving priorities in light of the level of offline activities.
    • The app install campaign would be a first for this client, so we worked closely with their development team to implement the tracking code necessary for full reporting on the number of installs achieved.
  • Targeting:
    • In addition to occupational targeting, we overlaid interest-based indicators including membership of relevant societies or supporters of particular organisations.
    • Comparing the performance of various configurations of audiences allowed us to refine our targeting so we were able to pinpoint those HCPs who were most likely to take the opportunity for professional development the app offered.
  • Retargeting:
    • As part of the campaign, we leveraged opportunities for retargeting app install ads to HCPs who had already engaged with the client’s more generalist content.
    • Retargeting was also used to activate users who had downloaded the app but had yet to make use of it.


Within eight weeks the Facebook activity drove around 650 app installs, representing a significant percentage of the total number of times the app had been downloaded.

The app install ads significantly outperformed traffic driving ads in terms of both CPA and overall number of app installs. By contrast, traffic driving apps were much more effective in driving clicks to site:

Campaign type % of Facebook budget Clicks App installs
App Install 59% 2,423 553
Traffic driving 41% 4,165 94

The fact both ad formats had performed as expected, helped to build confidence with the client’s central and local marketing teams with regards to the effectiveness of Facebook advertising for an HCP audience. The campaign was successful in proving the effectiveness of targeting a professional audience on what many think of as a ‘consumer’ channel, and in driving that audience towards a specific call to action.

Due to the success of the campaign in the Netherlands, planning is underway to launch within Germany and the UK, as well as to expend targeting to a broader range of HCPs including specialist nurses.

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