Increasingly key to any mobile marketing strategy, Facebook says about 40% of top iOS and Android apps were using its app installed ads last year.
Yet the format -- which allows users to download apps from within the mobile units -- remains a source of uncertainty for many publishers and marketers.
Facebook offers tools to adjust app install ads, and test creative against various demographics. But a number of ad tech start-ups are trying to improve on these tools, and help advertisers get more out of their mobile spends.
One such startup is Optilly, which emerged in 2012 with a SaaS-based social ads management platform for direct-response and brand marketers.
On Wednesday, the Y Combinator alum is expected to launch an app install marketing platform for Facebook.
The new system can create and test thousands of ads on the fly, and then manage the split testing while determining which ads are most profitable based on user-defined target acquisition costs.
Vince Mundy, co-founder and CEO of Optilly, said what sets his company apart is fractional factorial multivariate testing, which allows users to simultaneously test numerous factors within ads in a shorter amount of time.
“It would take hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in order to properly do anything like this manually,” Mundy said on Tuesday. The system is an alternative to the ad groups, and ad spend normally required with individual A/B split testing, Mundy added.
Optilly’s programmatic bid management algorithm adjusts bids every five minutes using the data from its "learnings engine" with the goal of increasing campaign performance by spending on the most valuable audiences.
The algorithm also learns which audiences have the best long-term value and spends more on those groups, and can recommend additional profitable audiences based on historical performance.
Yet rivals abound. Nearly a year ago, mobile app marketing firm Fiksu began supporting Facebook’s mobile app install ads.
Focused on e-commerce, meanwhile, Spruce Media recently released Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer (sPMD) -- a solution for clients that automatically optimizes bids, and allocates budgets based on how each creative and target audience performs against revenue goals rather than just cost-per-install (CPI).
Regarding the competition, Mundy said: “We feel technology and our account management methodology are the two key factors that help us differentiate.”
Since its beta launch at the beginning of the year, Optilly claims to have helped hundreds of advertisers -- including a number of Fortune 500 companies -- reduce the amount of time and money spent on campaign management.
Success is far from guaranteed, however. Regarding barriers to growth, Mundy said, “There is [are] bunch: Keeping clients informed of all the changes [Facebook] does to their ads product; keeping up with [Facebook] technology … and maintaining margins.”
There is also the risk of Facebook improving its app editing and testing tools -- like Power Editor -- to the point where Optilly’s app install marketing platform will be less vital.
Advertisers will use us if we provide value above and beyond what [Facebook] is giving out for free.”
Mobile accounted for more than a third -- or about $3 billion -- of Facebook’s overall revenue, last year, analysts expect the social giant to announce later this month.