Facebook is planning to roll out a new mobile advertising strategy that targets users based on which apps are installed on their phones, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Facebook engineers are said to have created software that can track what apps a user has downloaded. By using this information, Facebook can determine other apps that may appeal to them, serving up ads for those apps in the news feeds on their phones or tablets. Typically, Facebook users only see ads in the news feed from brands they’ve “Liked,” but this system would serve app ads whether they’ve liked the brand or not.
If Facebook indeed ends up sing app-tracking software, it would likely be extremely controversial — both for the nature of the information and for the allowing of uninvited ads. Facebook has never before tracked apps on users’ devices.
The Journal writes this is a way for Facebook to increase mobile revenue and tap into the potential profits to be made from the many apps that connect to its site. Instead of a purely impressions-driven model, the app-tracking system would involve Facebook getting a cut of every app sold, though impressions might factor in for free apps.
Facebook’s been focusing on the potential of mobile ads, especially after its IPO when investors and Facebook said mobile could get in the way of the company’s growth. In June, the social network announced Facebook Sponsored Stories that allow advertisers to purchase ads especially for mobile devices. Recently, several studies showed Facebook’s mobile ads are performing better than desktop ads, perhaps making Facebook eager to test new mobile ad strategies.