Facebook To Go After App Brand Dollars; Deep Linking Will Take It There

Brand dollars are the biggest opportunity in mobile app advertising that is not being captured. Much of the digital spend in apps today comes from direct-response advertising. Facebook has experience teaching major brands how to use its platform as a creative canvas. Now it will move past app install ads and teach Sony, GM, P&G and others how to do the same to reengage with consumers.

Nearly 62% of Facebook's revenue comes from mobile, but during the company's earnings call COO Sheryl Sandberg declined to say how much of that comes from ads tied to the installation of apps. Sandberg said: "I do think sometimes people think that mobile app install ads are all of the revenue or a great majority of revenue and they’re not. They’re only part of the mobile ad revenue."



In other words, what's driving the business today isn't necessarily what will drive revenue tomorrow. Brand dollars aren't being captured, per an industry executive. "Think about TV and print brand advertising that takes advantage of color canvases," he said. "The biggest missed advertising opportunity is big brand dollars. I don't think it's being captured today in digital."

Deep linking in apps can capture the "big brand branding dollars." Apple, Google App Index, Facebook App Links, Twitter Cards ask developers to put meta-tags on their Web sites that expose the deep link structure across essentially mapping URLs to deep links. It connects searches to the content. Google now allows marketers to run deep link advertising campaigns using AdWords. Deep linking can also create a connection between the apps that exist on a smartphone or tablet.

Similar to Google, Facebook wants to sell ads and connect searches to content. The move will create mobile engagement campaigns on Facebook and throughout the Facebook Audience Network. "Apple's Siri tries to enable voice search and deep linking, so I can say find me a Italian food restaurant in San Francisco and Siri takes me to Open Table," said John Milinovich, CEO at URX, a mobile advertising startup about to change ecommerce. The company provides ways to deeplink content in apps. "They could also use deep link advertising within their own ad network."

Think back to the days of Massive. The in-game advertising company that Microsoft shut down in 2010 had the correct idea, but way before its time. The technology made advertisements in the game dynamic without requiring another download from consumers. "You can take advantage of dynamic content with deep links," Milinovich said.

Deep linking will help brands use apps for ecommerce, but also branding campaigns. A company like Gillette could deeplink into YouTube and bring consumers into the app to watch a video and then buy a 10-pack of razors. 

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