Facebook Just Launched Its Next Billion-Dollar Business

mark zuckerbergMark Zuckerberg’s mobile vision is coming together.

Photo: Getty

For months, Facebook has been testing a new kind of ad on mobile devices—ads for other apps.Now it’s officially launched the app-ad program to all developers.

Here’s how it works: Developers place ads on Facebook’s website and its mobile apps. When users install their apps, developers pay a fee.

Because Facebook has a huge audience, and because its fast-growing base of mobile users have already shown they’re willing to download Facebook’s own app, it’s a natural audience for these ads. TinyCo, a mobile games maker, reported having 50 per cent higher click-through rates. Companies like Zoosk, the online-dating service, and Fab, the e-commerce site, have also been running ads in tests.

Facebook has been swiftly laying the groundwork for this business, first launching its App centre, a centralized place for promoting apps, in May and rolling it out internationally.

Having proven it can drive traffic to apps through the App centre and through ads placed in Facebook users’ News Feeds, Facebook’s now seeking to make money off of that traffic.

Here’s a bonus: It keeps iPhone and Android developers, who might otherwise favour tools built into Apple and Google’s mobile platforms, loyal to Facebook, since adding Facebook’s social features to their apps is pretty much a requirement to get distribution—paid or unpaid—on Facebook.

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