Services & Software

Facebook inserts video into mobile ads

The social network alters its mobile app ads to help developers boost downloads of their own applications.


Facebook hopes to make its mobile ads more enticing to viewing audiences and advertisers alike with an upgrade that lets app developers run video ads in the News Feed on iOS and Android.

The social network announced Monday that advertisers can start using video creative in their mobile app ads, a relatively new but popular unit that lets developers pay to promote their apps through Facebook's mobile News Feed.

The mobile app ad, formerly known as the mobile app install ad, is arguably Facebook's most important unit as members spend more time social networking from smartphones. Earlier this month, Facebook enhanced the units and let developers insert calls to action to encourage existing users to take specific app actions such as listen to a song or watch a video.

Not to be confused with the long-rumored, auto-play video ads, the new mobile app ads with video will require a person to click play to watch the ad and are meant to help developers drive downloads of their applications. In theory, a person that watches a video will be more inclined to click to download the advertiser's app.

"In our early tests, we found that using video in our mobile app ads resulted in increased install rates and decreased costs per install," DoubleDown Casino Vice President of Interactive Marketing John Clelland said in a statement on Facebook's developer blog.

Facebook has also introduced a new pricing option to let developers bid on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis, meaning they can set the price they want to pay per application install as opposed to bidding on clicks or impressions. The new option could make the unit more appealing to advertisers who want to boost downloads of their applications.

So far in 2013, mobile app ads have resulted in more than 145 million installs from Apple's App Store and the Google Play store. In the second quarter of this year, 8,400 advertisers purchased the ad unit.