Earlier this week Facebook launched a new ad format geared to app developers, called Mobile App Install Ads (AdExchanger story). Its entry has the potential to disrupt the current field of companies that have sprouted up to drive app installs -- including mobile ad networks and companies that incentivize downloads.
But first it has to show effectiveness. That means answering not only how many users clicked to install the app, but also what post-install engagement looks like. In mobile it's increasingly common for people to install ads that are used once or not at all, and developers – especially those offering free apps with incremental monetization baked in – want proof of engagement to justify ongoing marketing investment.
To track those metrics Facebook has partnered with three companies: Apsalar, AD-X and HasOffers. And it is advising app marketers to integrate with its newest SDKs for iOS and Android, allowing them to track performance and optimize for installs.
Apsalar CEO Michael Oiknine tells AdExchanger, "We think Facebook is going to provide a unique opportunity for advertisers to drive social app discovery. Facebook is really well placed given their scale to bring the power of social recommendation [to app developers] at a very low cost. We think they could have a major impact on discovery. Discovery continues to be among the most vexing problems for mobile app developers and publishers out there."
Apsalar’s analytics product is called Campaign Source Insights. In the company's own words, it "attributes app installations to the proper acquisition source, then measures spend from users that come from each campaign through one, centralized reporting dashboard."
Apsalar also runs an audience targeting business, identifying and delivering ads to likely mobile users, which doesn't pertain to the new Facebook ads.
Asked about Facebook's preferred mobile user ID mechanism, Oiknine says, "Facebook doesn't pass any data to us. They allow us to read a specific attribution method to make sure that we know that person has come from Facebook."