Facebook Updates App Ads To Boost Interaction
When Facebook launched mobile app ads in 2012, the goal was to help developers drive app installs. Since then, thousands of businesses have used the ads to generate more than 145 million installs from the App Store and Google Play, according to the social network.
Now Facebook is rolling out new features for app ads aimed at driving further interaction once someone has already downloaded an app. These include seven different calls to action from universal messages like “Open Link” and “Use App,” to more specific ones: “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,” stated a Facebook post today.
Among the first marketers to test the new features is HotelTonight to encourage existing customers to book last-minute getaways. In the Facebook post, Kevin Kwon, marketing manager for HotelTonight, said the updated mobile app ads had “significant potential to drive bookings in our app.”
Facebook also suggested other ways marketers might use the app ad options, including a retailer app promoting a sale, a game that wants to bring existing players to updated levels, a music app that wants to show users a new playlist and a travel app pushing discounted fares.
User retention has long been a challenge for developers and publishers as the novelty of a new app can wear off quickly. According to Facebook mobile analytics partners Localytics, two-thirds of app users only open apps between one and 10 times before moving on.
The new calls to action in Facebook’s app ads are no guarantee of increased conversions. A study released by Forrester on Monday indicated almost half of U.S. smartphone users simply ignore in-app ads, and 43% find them intrusive. Only a quarter found them inventive or creative. But the research also showed half of those have seen at least one in-app ad have researched and/or made a purchase after seeing an ad.
For Facebook itself, mobile app install ads have helped drive its rapid rise in mobile ad sales, which accounted for 41% of total ad revenue in the second quarter. While not providing specific numbers, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the July earnings call that revenue from the app ads continued to accelerate.