In the spirit of embracing more mobile technology for advertising, Facebook has announced a new mobile ad feature for app developers that would allow them to purchase mobile news feed ads that open directly to the iOS App Store or Google Play when clicked. Facebook is currently testing the new ad unit with a limited set of beta partners.
The app ads appear in a panel between traditional news stories, so users will see them as they scroll through their news feed. The panel displays a small thumbnail image, app name, and number of friends who use the app, if any.
The example shared by Facebook in a blog post showed a panel with a selection of three different game apps. Mobile users who click the ads and don’t already have the app installed will be directed to the page where the app can be purchased or installed in the App Store or Google Play.
Business users and developers looking to promote their apps can select their budget and the audience they’d like to reach by using demographic and geographical information along with the mobile devices where the app can be used. Then they can track their progress and reach. The app ads are pay-per-click, but Facebook hopes to be able to measure the rate of installations per click in the future.
And unlike sponsored stories and other types of Facebook ads, where advertisers can just target friends of existing users or those who’ve mentioned their product or brand, Mobile Ads for Apps is non-social. So the apps don’t need an existing user base to show up on a user’s news feed.
This means that advertisers will finally be allowed to choose their own target market instead of letting Facebook’s social graph decide which ads will be relevant for which news feeds.