Nanigans Leaves Private Beta, Aims to Provide Better Facebook Ads API Optimization

Facebook’s performance advertising system has been growing along with the company’s user base. Now, more companies — from established advertising and search marketing firms to first-time entrepreuners — are competing to provide ad optimization services to the growing body of Facebook advertisers.

The latest company to emerge is Nanigans, out of Boston, and founded by serial web entrepreneurs. It claims to have been working with top developers during its private beta period, and now it’s making itself available to the public. It claims to get better results than competitors because it includes a tracking pixel that partners run within apps and web sites, showing whether users who clicked through performed certain actions, like taking a tutorial or buying a virtual good. It is trying to optimize around monetization actions, especially for gaming companies that provide virtual goods on and off Facebook.

Partners can, among other options, choose to run campaigns based on cost per install or cost per action, dividing campaigns across apps. For example, a developer bids $1.00 to run ads that reach a certain subset of users, then decides to put $0.75 of that dollar towards CPI ads in a game, with $0.25 for CPA ads. While many developers pay based on CPI now, the promise of Nanigans’ approach is that companies can better target which ads appear in front of which users. This way, they can fine-tune virtual goods pricing and other aspects of an application to make a profit off of the ads.

The opportunity on Facebook has only been emerging within the last 12 months or so, starting when it launched a private beta of an advertising API last year. The Ads API allows service providers to sell bulk quantities of ads directly to clients, rather than an advertiser having to buy each ad manually within Facebook’s performance ad purchasing interface. Larger advertisers, whether game developers, local business, brands, or anyone else, can put their money to work much more efficiently by buying a variety of campaigns, iterating on text, images, links and other ad information, based on who clicks through and what actions they take.

The model has been proven by Google and other companies that offer performance ad networks; Facebook’s ability to target ads based on detailed social information about users is proven to be even more valuable for some types of advertisers. Watch for the competition in this area to heat up this year. We’ll be looking at Nanigans’ product in more detail as part of our ongoing coverage of Ads API service providers; for more, check out our profile on a rival, Techlightenment’s Alchemy, last week.