Facebook To Start Tracking Mobile Apps For Targeted Ads

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook has been under scrutiny since its initial public offering regarding its ability to make money off mobile. Later this month, the company plans to offer developers and advertisers the opportunity to place targeted ads — based on what applications people use — in mobile news feeds, The Wall Street Journal reports.

This is one of the biggest moves Mark Zuckerberg and Co. have made in response to critics who worry about Facebook’s chances at capitalizing on its growing mobile user base. It doesn’t matter if you have an interest in buying music at the moment. If you’ve downloaded Song Pop, odds are you’ll see music-related ads. If you tend to play Words with Friends, ads for other Zynga games will pop up in your mobile news feed.

Journal reporter Shayndi Raice explains how this will make money for Facebook:

Facebook engineers have built technology that lets the company track what apps people have on their phones and target ads based on that information, these people said. Facebook would charge companies every time an app is installed on users’ smartphones, one of the people said. Facebook can charge significantly more for an app installation than it can for the traditional cost of every 1,000 people who have viewed an ad.

Facebook will launch this new feature either July 16 or July 30. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg might mention the mobile ad targeting service during Facebook’s earnings call with analysts, then roll it out July 30. The Journal story notes that some Facebook executives acknowledge that there will likely be backlash from users over privacy concerns, which might lead to the later launch date.

Readers: What do you think about this?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.