POV: Facebook’s new app advertising format

MINDSHARE POINT OF VIEW – Mobile app install ads have been one of Facebook’s most successful ad formats and have resulted in around 145 million downloads to date. However, Facebook is taking things a step further launching new ‘engagement and conversion’ app ads, designed to solve the problem of getting people to interact with apps more often once they’ve downloaded them.


A study by Localytics, one of Facebook’s mobile measuring partners, reveals that 66% of app users only open an app between one and ten times. In order to help brands and businesses drive engagement and conversions, new features to mobile app ads are designed to reach people who have already downloaded an app and direct them back into specific features, content or products within the app. Businesses can now choose from seven different calls to action within mobile app ads. These include universal actions like ‘Open Link’ or ‘Use App’, along with more vertical-specific calls to action: ‘Shop Now’, ‘Play Game’, ‘Book Now’, ‘Listen Now’ or ‘Watch Video.’ From these calls to action, businesses with deep links can send their existing customers directly into customized, specific locations within their apps, such as new content, sales or product promotions.

The new mobile app ads will allow the maker of a travel app to promote an airfare or hotel room, for example, while a music app like Spotify could promote a band’s new song. Targeting capabilities allow advertisers to avoid users who have recently engaged with the app and also offer basic geographic, age and gender features, as well as interest-based targeting and connections to Facebook objects such as Pages and/or Apps.

HotelTonight, a popular app for last minute hotel bookings has already been using the new ad format in a testing phase. Deb Liu, Facebook’s executive in charge of the launch commented that the business has seen its app performance increase 10 fold since the test began. The potential for this service is huge for Facebook as well as for brands and businesses, with 8,400 (50%) of the top-grossing Android and iOS apps already using mobile app install ads in Q2 of this year, including partnerships with established brands such as Spotify and Expedia. The increase in advertising revenue has caused Facebook’s shares to double since July.


Facebook’s tweak to its app advertising format is set to present marketers with an opportunity to develop adaptive and targeted strategies in mobile advertising. Although in its early stages, the service is considered to have great potential, both for Facebook and participating brands/businesses.