Posted January 22, 2014 7:05 pm by with 2 comments

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Facebook app screenAfter telling businesses that their Pages aren’t engaging enough to make the grade, Facebook announced a feature that’s aimed directly at businesses on Facebook. Big difference? The first one was free, the second one is paid.

Starting right now, Facebook will begin testing ads in the mobile app.

As mobile continues to move to more app-based experiences, advertisers want to reach people spending their time in apps and developers need new ways to make money.

All true.

To improve the relevancy of the ads people see, provide even greater reach for Facebook advertisers and help mobile developers better monetize their apps, we’re running a small test to show Facebook ads in mobile apps. Our aim is to demonstrate even greater reach with the same power of Facebook targeting for advertisers both on and off Facebook.

Which totally makes sense. Some people are web only, some are mobile only but many go back and forth depending on the situation. The only way to cover your advertising bases these days is to run ads across all types of platforms.

While we have run similar tests in the past, this current test is more like a mobile ad network in that we are working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers rather than an outside ad-serving platform. The current test is limited to a few advertisers and partners, and we will share more details over the coming months.

As I understand it, users won’t really notice the difference. The ads they see will look like the same ads they’ve been seeing. The difference is on the backend. By working inside a Facebook only ad network, marketers can use Facebook’s targeting options to reach who they want to reach without paying for people they don’t. This is particularly important if your brand has geographic boundaries.

For Facebook, running their own ad network means more control and more money in their pocket. Which, I’m okay with, as long as the ads actually work. I still see just as many people saying Facebook advertising works as those who say it’s a waste of money.

People I know personally, say that a paid Facebook campaign helps bring in large numbers of “likers” but that doesn’t mean it’s worth it. A large number of Facebook followers doesn’t always translate into more green in the cash drawer. Especially with Facebook pulling even more Page posts off the news feed.

Paying for Page traffic could work if you’re selling an impulse buy product or if you’re just looking to increase brand recognition. It can also be worth it if you have an email gathering giveaway app on your Facebook page.

As for Facebook’s mobile ad network. . . it’s going to happen. More ads will begin to appear in the feed. More people will complain and 2 people will quit using Facebook. We’ve seen this before. As much as Facebook claims to be concerned about customer backlash, it’s hard to imagine what they could do – short of charging for access – that would cause a mass exodus at this point.

Here’s your chance to speak up in favor of Facebook. Are the ads working for you?

  • Sean Swentek

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand this announcement to mean that Facebook will be running ads on OTHER mobile apps, not just Facebook mobile. We already have the ability to buy ads on Facebook mobile. This new option is to purchase ads on a select group on other mobile sites, which Facebook has so far kept secret.

  • Logan

    I’m not sold on this working for Facebook. Social networks are not automatically proficient at doing the same things mobile ad networks are built to do. Facebook does not have the know-how or innovative minds that Airpush, Millennial Media and other top ad networks do. And without that, they won’t be as effective as they think they can be.