Facebook Lets Developers Sell Virtual Goods

While virtual goods may be tough to grasp, they yield material gains for developers and their ad partners.

As one of the developer community’s biggest ad partners, Facebook has decided to allow it to sell virtual goods directly from ads in user News Feeds, and the right-hand column of user pages.

“A developer with a desktop game on Facebook can now promote the sale of a virtual good, such as an extra booster pack, and gamers can purchase the virtual good directly from the ad and start playing the game,” Facebook engineer Pin Lu explained in a blog post published on Thursday.

In tests, Lu said the ads have been extremely successful. Referring to one game developer, Lu said: “Kixeye used these desktop app ads for virtual goods for their game Battle Pirates to reengage active players who were past purchasers, as well as active ones who had not yet paid.”

After offering discounts on its “gold” virtual currency, Kixeye saw click-through rates of over 10%, and a 50% conversion rate for past purchasers, according to Facebook data. All told, Kixeye saw over 5,000% return on ad spend, Lu boasted.

Facebook is encouraging developers to create desktop app ads for virtual goods through its various ad interfaces, including Create Flow, Power Editor and its Preferred Marketing Developers program.

The social network has recently sought to shore up its longstanding relationship with game developers. Launched last month, the social giant’s latest iPad app put a major spotlight on gaming.

Also, Facebook recently more closely connected its mobile app ads to other formats by connecting them to a Facebook page --  adding social context, and adding like, comment and share buttons.

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