Facebook Ads for Applications Now Show Which Friends Use That App

Facebook announced last night that ads for applications will now show users “a set of their friends that have engaged with [the] advertised application over the past 30 days”. New and existing application ads will automatically have this social content added when applicable. The addition of social content makes ads more relevant to users and should increase their click-through rates.

This is the latest move by Facebook to help third parties take advantage of user data for advertising purposes.

Earlier this month Facebook added social context metrics to its performance advertising analytics, allowing advertisers to see the number of impressions, clicks, and the click through rate of ads with social context, as well as what percentage of an ad’s total impressions included social context — for that metric, Facebook defines “social context” as “Percentage of impressions where the viewer of the ad also saw that 1 or more friends liked your Page, event, application or ad.”

The new Help Center document on Facebook Ads for Applications says “Our studies have shown that when an ad is paired with social context, users find the ad much more appealing and tend to recall the advertised brand more clearly.” It’s not clear if Facebook will also be incorporating Facebook Ads for Applications data into the metrics dashboard.

Social content about applications will only appear if the ad’s destination URL points to a http;//apps.facebook.com/… URL, meaning ads that point to tracking or redirect URLs which masks the app URL won’t have social content included. If the tracking URL is appended to the end of the app URL, such as http://apps.facebook.com/appnametest/trackingtag=?, social content will appear. Those using the bulk upload tool can use either the app’s Object ID in the “link_object_ID” field, or an appended tracking URL in the “link” field to have social content shown with their ads. We are currently waiting on a response from Facebook regarding how social content ads and metrics will be included in the Ads API.

Users can control how their names are used in ads in Account Settings -> Facebook Ads. There they’ll have the option to “Allow ads on platform pages to show my information to…” “Only my friends” or “No one”. This affects how third-party application ads can use social content. There’s also a toggle switch with the same options for “Show my social actions in Facebook Ads to…” which controls if ads shown by Facebook can include your social actions.

Extending the power of social recommendations to advertisers will strengthen Facebook’s position as a unique advertising channel.  Users should see more relevant ads and learn about their friends, and advertisers should enjoy higher CTRs and more conversion-ready leads. Facebook games, which are often heavily advertised, now have a paid social distribution channel and an added incentive to penetrate different social graphs.