Facebook is looking to make more money from its mobile users by opening up their smartphones to application developers looking to make a sale.
The service, which went on beta trial in August, will see developers bidding on Facebook's advertising system to place adverts for their applications in the feeds of mobile users. These adverts can be clicked to divert straight to the Apple and Android marketplaces, and will show a graphic, a brief description, and the number of stars given by users.
With the company producing patchy financials, a stagnant share price, and increasing competition from Google, Facebook's advertising department is looking to bring in more moola, and mobile is the way to go it seems. Smaller screens have meant less advertising revenue from mobile users and the auction system should bring in significant new funds.
"For years, many apps and games on Facebook.com have used ads as an important part of their growth strategy," the company said. "Now we are bringing these opportunities to mobile apps. With these new ads, mobile apps and games of all sizes across any category can reach the right audience, at scale."
The company reports that beta tester Ad Parlor saw consistent click-through rates of 1 to 2 per cent and TinyCo reported that their conversion rates had gone up 50 per cent using the system. Bear in mind, however, that these are the shops that are getting in there first and users can quickly get immune to advertising blandishments.
Included with the app advertising package are back-end services for audience analysis, reports and targeting. The company will also be adding more features in the coming months.
Those users happy to share their personal and location data with Facebook can expect to be offered up as advertising packages based on age, gender and location and Facebook's going to be tweaking the system, so that users who already have the game being advertised don't get any more inducements to do so. ®