Main image of article Facebook Launches Targeted App-Ad Platform

shutterstock_228417220 Apple isn’t the only tech company with a set of new tools that allow developers to target potential customers in a crowded app environment: Facebook has launched a platform, App Event Optimization, that can identify those app-users most likely to take what the social network deems “valuable actions.” With the platform, Facebook leverages its trove of historical data to determine which users have a greater chance of making an in-app purchase or becoming paid-for subscribers (for example). In sum, there are 14 events that Facebook can place ads against, including purchases, ratings, searches, spent credits, adding to cart, and adding payment info. In addition, Facebook is offering two new ad types: dynamic ads, which deliver an app-install ad whenever a user demonstrates interest in a particular product on a Website, and Canvas, an image-intensive ad format. These tools are available on Facebook and Instagram, and aimed at the hordes of customers who spend the majority of their mobile-device time within apps (and make lots of mobile purchases through those apps). Facebook’s new ad tools enter an environment in which app stores are overstuffed with goods, just as many app-store consumers are spending less time than ever with software they’ve downloaded. Earlier this year, app-analytics firm App Annie concluded that most apps only have a few weeks to generate downloads before they hit “maturity.” In response to this pressure, Apple recently introduced ads in app-search results; Google has instituted similar measures. By releasing its own hyper-targeted ad platform, Facebook can earn at least a portion of the revenue that might have otherwise disappeared into the respective piggybanks of Apple and Google. For app developers, the plethora of new advertising tools means they can spend ad dollars more effectively. Whether that’s enough to stand out amid hyper-crowded app stores, however, remains to be seen.