Facebook launches playable ads, tests retention optimization for app advertising

App marketers will also soon have the option of using minimum ROAS bidding.

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Facebook playable ads are among the new advertising features for gaming advertisers.

Facebook announced new advertising offerings for app marketers at the giant ChinaJoy gaming conference on Friday. After coming out of the gate first with app install ads in 2012, Facebook recently has lagged behind Google and others in developing ad products and features specifically for app marketers. The announcements Friday prioritize long-term value over sheer download volume, putting it on a more equal footing with competitors.

Playable ads — the ads users can demo from within the ad — are now available globally in the Facebook News Feed. Advertisers can set these ads up in the Facebook UI after selecting the app install campaign objective. Advertisers can also use one of Facebook’s developer partners — Bidalgo, CrossInstall, ConsumerAcquisition, CyberAgent, Kaizen, Kenshoo, MakeMeReach, Nanigans, Septeni Original, Smartly.io, Soft-World, TreSensa and Wisebirds — to help create and manage playable ads.

“With playable ads, advertisers can now give players a chance to experience a game in Feed before they install it, creating higher intent,” said Rick Kelley, VP of global gaming at Facebook, in a statement. “And through two additions to our value suite, game developers can more efficiently reach their most valuable players — whether they’re optimizing for payers or for retention.”

Minimum ROAS (return on ad spend) bidding will become available over the next few weeks. Advertisers will be able to set a minimum spend to target users that the system determines are most likely to make in-app purchases. Minimum ROAS bidding is designed to go hand-in-hand with value optimization targeting and make it more effective. Introduced last year, value optimization targeting aims to deliver ads to users based on how much they are estimated to spend on in-app purchases over a seven-day period. Minimum ROAS bidding will be available to eligible Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network advertisers in September.

Facebook is also currently testing retention optimization with a limited number of app advertisers. Ad targeting is automatically optimized to reach people most likely to play the game being promoted. Bitmango and Beijing Fotoable have been among the early testers. Foatable Chief Operating Officer Zijing Yan said in a statement that the retention optimization solution “has significantly improved our 2 and 7 day retention rate. We saw a 30% better ROI compared to install optimization when looking at cost per 7 day retained user.”

Retention optimization will roll out to more advertisers on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network later this year, the company says.

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About the author

Ginny Marvin
Ginny Marvin was formerly Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day-to-day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin wrote about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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