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Facebook Favoring User Engagement Over App Installs: New Metrics To Gauge Success

18 April 2017, 3:15 pm EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
Facebook has been driving billions of app installs, but is that enough? It's not, and that's why the company wants to focus more on user engagement rather than app installs - quality over quantity, if you may.  ( Carl Court | Getty Images )

Facebook is changing the way it measures the success of marketing campaigns on its platform, aiming to focus more on user engagement rather than app installs.

For years now, mobile app developers promoting their work via Facebook have been using app installs as a metric to gauge the success of their campaign. App installs alone, however, may not be the best way to determine how well things are going, so Facebook wants to go deeper.

App Installs vs. User Engagement

More specifically, Facebook wants to figure out how developers can get "good" installs from its campaigns. To that extent, it's not only important that users install an app, but also that they engage with it, share it, and help it grow.

Rather than just looking at total installs, Facebook realized that advertisers care more about conversions and engagement within the app. Consequently, Facebook will start focusing on value-based app ads to see which campaigns drive the most user engagement and get users to start spending on in-app purchases.

Facebook has been displaying mobile app install ads since 2012, marketing various apps to convince users to install them on their devices. Developers market their work this way and the more users installed their app, the more successful it was considered.

Both Google and Facebook have been bragging that their platforms were huge drivers of app installs, both aiming to lure more developers to market their apps through their respective platforms. Google announced back in August that its service accounted for 3 billion app installs last year, while Facebook drove 2 billion app installs.

It's not all about the numbers, however, and that's where Facebook's change in strategy comes in. Facebook thinks it can find what makes things tick by looking at user engagement and it has a number of ideas on how to implement this.

Driving User Engagement

One tool is called "app event optimization," and it launched last year as a way to highlight which aspects of an app are most likely to drive installs that will remain active. This app event optimization has already drawn interest and the developers behind 80 of the top 100 apps on the Google Play Store have been using it.

App re-marketing and worldwide targeting are also among the tools developers can use to boost their audience and engage more with users, which in turn help regain potentially lost revenue from users who got the app but ultimately uninstalled it.

All in all, Facebook's advertising program has been driving billions of unique app installs. The company still has various ad products designed to boost app installs for those looking to gain a massive install base. At the same time, however, Facebook's main product suites will soon start focusing more on engagement to help developers convince users to do more with their app.

To this extent, Facebook's new metrics will take a different approach to gauge how successful developers' campaigns really are beyond app installs. The company has yet to offer precise details on how it will keep tabs on everything, but it will most likely focus on active metrics such as user engagement, in-app purchases, ad revenue, initial app installs, usage, and churn (uninstalls).

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