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Facebook Looks to Change the Marketing of Apps

Facebook Looks to Change the Marketing of Apps
Ally Reis

Though Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play have grown to be the primary sources for app downloads in our world of smartphones, Facebook is now trying to take on a bigger role in app marketing.

At first glance, competing with giants like Apple and Google seems futile. Apps and downloads are one of Apple’s fastest growing businesses, generating $4.4 billion per quarter, making them more profitable than iPads and Macs. And, Android runs on nearly 80 percent of smartphones in some markets. Despite these statistics, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees an opportunity for exploitation.

While Apple and Google have the majority in terms of supply of apps, they are nowhere near as advanced in promoting and marketing these apps. Apple sells more than one million apps in its App Store, but the charts through which people search for these apps only present 200 at a time, a mere fraction of the available supply. Consequently, Apple users are oblivious to a massive amount of apps that, with a better promotion system, would be otherwise on their radar for purchase.

On Google’s side, app searches present lists of 500 apps at a time. Though this is a higher number than Apple’s, it’s still only 0.04 percent of the available 1.1 million apps in Google Play. Searching for an app through Google will eventually bring about the desired results, but not until after clicking through many pages in order to actually purchase and open the app.

These problematic marketing and presentation structures are what Facebook hopes to change with their own app promotion plans. Facebook will be hosting a developer conference, titled “F8” on April 30 at which they will present their case as the most powerful tool for app developers looking to reach the largest amount of users.

Facebook’s F8 argument will likely utilize its status as a daily-used mobile platform, by 1.2 billion users and counting, as well as its own experience in app development. With the large amount of people using Facebook every day, frequently in mobile form, it’s possible to target users by gender, age, location, interests and so on, in order to expertly reach the desired audience for each app developer. Additionally, Facebook can utilize their own struggles with bringing their apps, like Messenger and Paper, into being as a way to relate to developers on the same level.

Lately, Facebook has been focusing its attention on “mobile app install ads” and a related product that reminds users to check back in with their apps. These mobile app install ads are a way for developers to buy ads on Facebook, a prime marketing tool as Facebook is trying to demonstrate, that link to Apple and Google’s app stores. The revenue from these app install ads is a fast-growing portion of the $1.4 billion brought in from all mobile ads each quarter.

Considering this information, it certainly seems like Facebook has a strong case as to why app developers should utilize their platform to market their work. And while it seems like Facebook might be encroaching on Apple and Google’s turf, none of this will harm the two companies. Instead, with every paid app downloaded, Apple and Google will continue to profit while Facebook builds a billion-dollar business on their inability to market their own apps.

[Sources: Business Insider ]

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