Facebook Expands Mobile App Ads Offering

App developers can now buy their way into mobile News Feeds

Back in August Facebook began letting a limited numbers of mobile app developers pay for their apps to be promoted within the Try These Games box right in the middle of the mobile News Feed.

On Tuesday the company said that test is rolling out of beta, giving all developers access to that prime real estate. Plus, Facebook has released some performance stats on Try These Games placements to help spur adoption.

For gaming company TinyCo, the ability to get in front of mobile Facebook users with a link urging them to install its apps (via the Apple App Store or Google Play) led to a 50 percent increase in clicks, according to Facebook.

The social networking giant also let some of its Preferred Marketing Developers in on the test: AdParlor saw 1 to 2 percent clickthrough rates, while Nanigans’ mobile app ads averaged $0.18-$0.60 cost-per-click rates with at times 3 percent or higher clickthrough rates.

The mobile app ads also outperformed desktop ads Nanigans has run on Facebook, resulting in 13 to 17 times higher CTRs. On the whole, Nanigans said the mobile app ads hit eight to 10 times the reach of mobile ad buys on other channels.

Part of the reason beta partners saw expanded reach with their mobile app ads may be due to the fact that these ads aren’t as targeted as other Facebook ad products. Typically on Facebook advertisers can include users’ interests as a targeting parameter, but with mobile app ads, developers are limited to broader targeting options like region, age, gender and mobile operating system. However, Facebook did include this nugget in a blog post announcing the rollout, which indicates new targeting parameters may eventually be made available.

“In coming months, we’ll continue to make updates that improve the user experience and the performance of mobile app install ads. For example, you may be able to customize your ad unit based on your audience, ensure that your ads are only shown to people who have not installed your app on iOS or Android devices, and allow people to start installing your app without leaving Facebook,” wrote Facebook engineer Vijaye Raji.

The latter option implies that users would be able to download a mobile app via Facebook’s App Center, which currently lives within its mobile app but pushes users to the Apple App Store or Google Play. Asked if that would in fact be the case, a Facebook spokesperson said the company had nothing more to share at this time.