Facebook has made enhancements to its mobile app install ads that it promises will help brands not only get people to download their app but will also encourage users to take a specific action within the app. Starting today, the social networking company is supporting App Event Optimization across Facebook, Instagram, and participants in its Audience Network.

Launched in 2012 on Facebook, mobile app install ads allow developers to advertise their apps inside the social network’s properties. Since then, quite a few updates have been made to this advertising tool, including customized calls to action such as “Open Link,” “Use App,” and “Play Game,” along with video support and the launch of a cost-per-action (CPA) bidding model.

It’s this last one that is evolving. Previously, with a CPA bidding model, advertisers could bid on not only impressions, but also how many people followed through with the install. Today’s release takes things one step further. Facebook product manager Jehan Damji explained that retention within the app ecosystem is “a difficult problem” — after 30 days, only about 6 percent of users will come back to the app. “Not all app installs are created equal,” he said.

This is where App Event Optimization can be advantageous, since the tool aims to deliver mobile app install ads to people Facebook believes are “likely to take valuable actions within their apps.” Advertisers can further target ads based on those who are most likely to add something to their shopping cart, make a purchase, or complete a level.

Here are just some of the specific actions that can be bid on by advertisers: level completion, launching the app, adding payment information, completing registration, making a purchase, rating, searching, spending credits, and viewing content.

Damji shared that developers interested in App Event Optimization could provide app events to Facebook and specify where they want ads to be displayed. From there, Facebook’s algorithm will look at the historical data of that app, along with consumer statistics, and then locate people who fit the demographic before showing the mobile app install ad. Mobile gaming and commerce apps like Poshmark and Smule are already using this offering.

This new capability will change how advertisers can bid for ads. Before today, the bid was always weighted by how much they valued the install, but now it’s all about bidding on the value of the action you want taken. But although App Event Optimization is available today, it’s not mandatory for advertisers to use. Damji said that standard mobile app install ad campaigns can still be purchased.

App Event Optimization supports all of Facebook’s ad types, including its Canvas and Dynamic ads.

“We’re now aligning a lot closer with what developers have been asking for,” Damji said. “It’s about really delivering the right customers to the right apps so developers can continue to grow their business.”

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