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Facebook opens floodgates for mobile ads in your News Feed

As it searches for ways to make money on mobile, the social network moves a new strategy out of test phase and will let all app developers buy space in your News Feed.


Facebook is upping its efforts to make money on mobile.

In early August, the company rolled out its first mobile ad units that aren't tied to a user's social connections. These ads, which Facebook called a test at the time, let an undisclosed number of third-party developers buy ads in mobile New Feeds as a way to help them drive more people to their apps. Tapping on the ad would take you to the Android or iOS App Store purchase page.

Now Facebook is opening its mobile app install ads to all developers, which should help spread apps on Facebook and potentially make a lot of money. Such ads basically implore users to install new apps.

"With these new ads, mobile apps and games of all sizes across any category can reach the right audience, at scale," Facebook's Vijaya Raji wrote in a post on Facebook's developer page.

In the post, Raji wrote that the test partners -- including Fab, and game makers Kabam and TinyCo -- were able to reach a broader audience and successfully increase the number of people who installed their apps. TinyCo, for instance, saw a 50 percent higher click-through rate compared with other mobile channels, Facebook said.

This ad type was a big deal for Facebook because it meant that an advertiser -- in this case, a developer -- could buy its way into your News Feed regardless of whether you or your 'friends' like the brand. While Facebook is helping developers target who sees the ad, there is always a risk of cluttering up the News Feed. Today's move suggests that, so far at least, that's not been an issue.

Facebook, of course, is under enormous pressure to make money from mobile, and this is one way it's doing that. It's certain to be a big part of Facebook's call with investors next Tuesday, when the company reports its third-quarter earnings.