What a great idea – Facebook to target mobile advertising based on app usage

Facebook reportedly plans to introduce mobile advertisements that target consumers based on the applications and games they access on their phones.

Citing sources familiar with Facebook’s plans, The Wall Street Journal reports the social networking giant will track consumers’ mobile activities via its Facebook Connect feature, which enables users to log into millions of apps and websites using their Facebook identity. The company will then leverage that data to deliver targeted ads, charging marketers every time an app is installed on a user’s smartphone. According to sources, Facebook can charge significantly more for an app install than it can for conventional mobile ad impressions.

Facebook, which is expected to formally announce the targeted ads next month, will integrate campaigns into users’ mobile News Feed, which streams updates from their friends. For example, if a user regularly plays Zynga’s Words with Friends on their phone, Facebook will promote other Zynga titles in their News Feed.

In May, Facebook raised $16 billion in the second largest stock market debut in U.S. history, but investor concern over the company’s ability to monetize its growing mobile audience has since wiped billions from its value. Facebook has said it will turn to mobile advertising to fuel its revenue growth, but the new ads also could raise major privacy concerns. Rival mobile ad networks track the promotions that users click within apps and mobile websites but do not track users’ related app usage and behaviors.

Privacy advocates told the WSJ that Facebook should offer consumers ways to opt out of the targeting program. “If they are going to do it, they should be transparent about it,” said Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s project on consumer privacy. A Facebook spokesman declined to comment on privacy issues.

Facebook touts more than 901 million users worldwide, up 33 percent from 680 million a year ago. More than 488 million users access the site via mobile device each month.

But why is this important for us? As we are going to start using Facebook’s API and app centre (hopefully) with our new idea for mobile marketing games – Massmob.


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