Will There Be Install Campaigns for Facebook Connect Apps?

One of the most popular campaigns done through Facebook advertisers remains to be install campaigns. These are campaigns that drive users viewing the advertisements to other applications. Cost per install (CPI), became a term regularly used by advertisers in this space when the Facebook platform launched over a year ago. Facebook Connect is different though because the end result is that users are driven to an external website.

Does it Matter Where You Engage Your User?

When clients turned to “Facebook experts” last year and asked “Why should we add so many features within a Facebook application?” they regularly received the same response: “The more features you add, the better. It doesn’t matter where you are engaging your users as long as you are engaging with them.” The same argument still holds true for the most part but theoretically clients could finally get what they wanted in the first place: users driven to their website.

Sometimes you just need to give the client what they want. Over the past year I’ve heard countless companies request that they’d like to drive users to their website, not to a Facebook application. The biggest problem with running Facebook campaigns was that users were driven to a Facebook application but they never converted into website users. This could change with Connect.

Do Install Campaigns for Connect Apps Make Sense?

When users install a Facebook Connect application, they can be redirected to an external website. It can be as something simple as a commenting application, or something more complex that leverages the user’s data to produce a more custom experience. The purpose of using the Facebook platform has always been the same: access to valuable user data including the user’s relationships.

There is also the desire to have access to viral distribution channels. Facebook extends both of these capabilities to the web. While we haven’t seen the release of the first Facebook Connect applications, when Connect is released from beta later this year we could see a massive influx of new applications. As for those install campaigns of the past? My guess is that we could see more of them, except this time around the end result is going to be an external website, not Facebook.

Does This Help Facebook?

One has to wonder if Facebook will end up developing some sort of policy which says “All Facebook Connect application installations must originate from external sites.” The main issue is that increasing pageviews is one of the primary benefits of the Facebook platform but this isn’t accomplished through external install campaigns. Right now all we have is theory and speculation to go on but I could see this becoming a complex issue for Facebook.

Do you foresee external Facebook Connect application install campaigns in the future? What do you think are the biggest implications for Facebook?