If you use Facebook on your phone or tablet – and science says that there’s about a 95% chance that you do – you may have noticed something different lately. And no, we’re talking about the fact that the app is finally working. Rather, the social networking giant recently stepped up its mobile ad program from featured news stories to include a select pool of game developers. Starting today, that pool will be a whole lot bigger.
Launched in August, the program is designed to increase app discovery and drive installs for developers by allowing them to advertise their games to targeted demographics right on their mobile devices. Ads come in the form of “suggestions” integrated into Facebook users’ news feeds, with the individual app’s storefront rating, a small description, a prominent logo, and an “Install Now” prompt. According to Facebook, early adopter response has been largely positive, with beta developers like TinyCo seeing 50% more “click-through” to their games, and higher percentages of users converting to actual downloads – as compared with current mobile ad solutions.
All marketing stats aside, the opening up of Facebook’s ad solution to app developers of all stripes (iOS, Android) represents a potentially huge boon for an increasingly cutthroat market. With the cost of user acquisition in the mobile space skyrocketing, the social network’s massive (and growing) user base represents an appealing alternative to simply throwing your advertising dollars to the wind in hopes that something sticks. Why advertise to a broad base of users on the conventional web, that is, when you can leverage your own internal demographics to target 30-year old women with children, if they were the most prolific players of your last release?
With all of that said, we’ve spoken at length about the fact that the best PR comes from crafting a compelling story around your game and pounding the pavement with grassroots outreach to press and players. However, time will tell if Facebook’s now-widely available solution is an institutional solution to some of the stagnation facing the mobile ad market. To find out more about the program, and (for developers) how to implement and get the most out of it, be sure to read the full release from Facebook themselves.