Sink or Swim: Here’s Facebook’s New Attempt to Monetize its Mobile Users

As users trend away from web use, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) either figures out how to profit from its 543 million mobile device users, or suffers. The go-to model is leveraging its user data to sell targeted advertising space. So far, however, it has been unclear how Facebook would do this, with several previous attempts like paid for “Pages You May Like” flopping and putting both customers and investors on edge.

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Facebook’s newest strategy is a platform which allows mobile app developers to set a personalized budget and reach out to an audience of their choice — much like Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) approach. Aware that many users are opting to use third-party titles instead of Facebook specific apps, Facebook is currently inviting app developers to take part in a beta trial. This allows developers to push their apps through Facebook to either Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS App Store or Android’s Google Play. If a user clicks on an ad from Facebook, they will be redirected to the appropriate store.

On its developer blog, Facebook says, “In the past 30 days, we have sent people to the Apple App Store and Google Play 146 million times, via clicks from channels such as news feed, timeline, bookmarks and App Center.” Numbers like this could make developers pay up. If Facebook can use its demographic data to expose its users to the apps they want, it could finally legitimize itself as a primary advertising channel in the mobile market.

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