Facebook: Mobile Advertising Goes Social | MMA Global

Facebook: Mobile Advertising Goes Social

October 29, 2012

Facebook, the number one global social network, is a topic so consistently hot it borders on trite. But with more than 125 billion connections, can you really blame any marketer for being so enamored? Among advertisers Facebook has become a holy grail of sorts; a mainline into consumer consciousness at the most personal level. However, most success stories of Facebook as a channel actually come from its ability to allow interaction with customers on a branding or customer-service level.

Susan Lyne, Chairman of the luxury shopping website Gilt, recently suggested to Business Insider, “People don’t go to Facebook to shop. They go to hang out and chat with their friends.” This sentiment seems to have struck a chord within the industry. Many companies have come to similar conclusions and decided to focus on building brand identity relationships with consumers instead of using Facebook only as a means for advertisement. Getting the word out and engaging consumers throughout the entire buying process is now seen as a process that includes Facebook advertising in addition to a slew of other tactics such as content marketing, promotion, and customer interaction. According to Lyne, “Selling things on Facebook is like selling things in a bar.” If that’s the case, buying your customer a beer and striking up a conversation with them in order to forge a relationship is likely to be more successful than screaming at the top of your lungs.

With many companies re-evaluating Facebook’s role in the marketing mix, the social media giant has actively engaged itself in producing more relevant ROI offerings for advertisers. In August, Facebook made the exciting announcement that it was testing new ads that would appear in the mobile news feed aimed at driving app installs. Now Facebook has made those ads available to iOS and Android developers widely, and that’s even better. These specialized ads allow developers to buy tiles that promote their apps in the Facebook mobile news feed. When tapped, these instantly open the Apple App Store or Google Play market to allow users to download apps.  Facebook is even offering deep analytics to give developers the ability to track their ad clicks and the installs they drive. App ranking and socialization, features that show friends within the user’s network who have downloaded the app, both come integrated with the ads as well.

Seizing an opportunity to prove the success of the new ads, Facebook points to game maker TinyCo in a recent blog post. Their app saw a 50% higher click-through rate and much higher conversion rates compared to TinyCo’s current mobile channels, as well as a significant increase in player engagement. Furthermore, ad-managing startup Nanigans’ clients attained eight to ten times more reach than traditional mobile ad buys when it purchased Facebook mobile app install ads, while AdParlor racked up a consistent 1-2% click-through rate. These statistics may only hint at the full potential of Facebook’s mobile ads; in the future, developers are likely to gain further ad-targeting capabilities. These options may include the ability to customize an ad unit based on its audience, ensuring ads are shown only to users who don’t already have the app on their iPhone or Android device. Personalized creative and the option to let users start downloading apps without leaving Facebook are also on the development table.

Whilst its strategy is still in the experimental stages, Facebook is taking every step necessary to harness the power of mobile and use it to its advantage. The possibilities obviously have marketers and advertisers doing cartwheels, however it is important to remember that these ads are still only partially rooted in social interaction.  An app isn’t required to have been downloaded from a friend in order for its ad to be displayed, creating the possibility of a barrage of unrelated ads on the consumer’s mobile which may have an undesirable effect on brand equity. Keeping the potential drawbacks in mind and watching how Facebook chooses to develop the channel will be the key to deciphering just how successful this new development can become.