Facebook Launches Comments Box, Tests Ads In Apps
With the new "Comment Box" widget for Facebook Connect, users can leave comments on third-party sites with their name and profile picture, and have the option to post the comments on their Facebook profile as well.
"With the Comments Box, Facebook users on your site can comment on your content, post those comments to their profiles, and share them with their friends on Facebook," according to Facebook's Developer blog. "The Comments Box allows non-Facebook users to make comments on your site as well." The widget also lets users read related comments made on the social networking site.
For publishers, the Comments Box provides an easier way to have their content shared and discussed more widely among Facebook's 175 million active users worldwide.
The company separately announced this week that it had begun testing a new in-house ad network for applications on Facebook. Until now, developers have mainly relied on widget ad networks such as Rock You, Social Media and Sometrics to distribute and monetize their Facebook apps. But with an increased focus this year on building revenue, Facebook is jumping into the app game more directly.
"Starting today you may notice a few applications occasionally serving Facebook Ads directly in their canvas pages as a part of a small alpha test," states a Feb. 18 post on the Developer's blog. "We will use the results of this test and other tests that we do to determine the best ways we can help you monetize."
According to the Inside Facebook blog, most app developers report CPMs of 10 cents to 50 cents on most remnant inventory on Facebook, though some direct and integrated ad deals can pay rates as high as $5 to $20. With more than 52,000 apps are available on the site, there's no shortage of inventory to monetize.
But Facebook will still face a balancing act as it seeks to generate more revenue from its application ecosystem. "As the Platform on which all apps and monetization efforts run, Facebook faces the challenge of helping developers monetize directly while still cultivating a robust monetization ecosystem for third parties," wrote Justin Smith of Inside Facebook.