Facebook expands mobile app install ads to all developers
Two months into beta trials on mobile advertising units designed to drive iOS and Android application installations, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is opening the program to all developer partners.
The Facebook ads target consumers based on the apps and games they already access on their smartphones. Developers select their intended audience demographic, budget and method of payment, and Facebook inserts ads for their apps directly into targeted users' mobile news feeds. When consumers click on these ads, Facebook directs their device to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store or the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront to download the app.
"In early results, beta partners like Kabam, Fab, TinyCo and Big Fish were able to reach a more relevant audience and efficiently drive installs," wrote Facebook software engineer Vijaye Raji in a blog post. "For example, TinyCo saw 50 percent higher [click-through rates] and significantly higher conversion rates compared to their current mobile channels, as well as a significant increase in player engagement."
Raji added that a select subset of Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers experienced similarly positive results during the beta period: "For example, Nanigans' clients efficiently achieved 8-10x the reach compared to other mobile ad buys," he wrote. "Ad Parlor saw consistent CTR's from news feed of 1-2 percent from engaged users looking for iPhone and Android games that their friends were playing."
Developers can launch and monitor ads via the Facebook App Dashboard. "You can also leverage Power Editor, the API or work with one of our Preferred Marketing Developers to create and manage your campaigns," Raji noted. "To measure the effectiveness of your ads, you must integrate with the latest Facebook SDKs for iOS or Android. Updating your app with the latest SDK will allow you to measure overall clicks and installs for your campaign, and it will allow you to optimize your ad delivery for installs."
Forthcoming improvements will enable developers to customize ad units based on the app audience, ensure ads are pushed solely to users who've not already installed the app, and support installations within the Facebook platform.
More than 1 billion people worldwide now use Facebook actively each month, doubling from 500,000 in July 2010--in addition, 600 million of those users access the social networking platform via mobile device. Facebook stock has nevertheless fallen 48 percent since the company's May 17 IPO, fueled by fears the company is failing to monetize its mobile efforts--however, in an investor note Wednesday, Wedge Partners Analyst Martin Pyykkonen wrote Facebook is "further along in monetizing mobile advertising" than generally believed.
"We know mobile advertising is still early, but we also think mobile advertising is near a positive inflection," Pyykkonen wrote. "Advertisers have to find effective ways to advertise on mobile platforms because of the mass audience shift to mobile that is under way."
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