Citing research from metrics firm Localytics that indicates two-thirds of mobile users open their apps only 10 times or less, Facebook says it wants to help businesses promote greater app usage.
To encourage greater user engagement with mobile apps, Facebook has given its mobile app advertisers the ability to include one of seven specific calls to action in mobile ads.
Such calls to action, represented as text on a button in an app advertisement, can be configured to lead those who tap on the button to specific locations in the advertiser's app through deep links. They include: Open Link, Use App, Shop Now, Book Now, Play Game, Listen Now and Watch Video.
[ Facebook is pulling out the stops to encourage more advertising. Read Facebook Gives Advertisers Images From Shutterstock. ]
Facebook provides several potential usage scenarios for its advertising technology: a retail app, for notifying users about a sale or promotion; a game, for encouraging players to use updated content; a music app, for alerting users to a new playlist; or a travel app, for promoting fare discounts.
The social network previously introduced a call to action for mobile app installation, Install Now, which urges viewers to install a specific app. These latest calls to action are designed to promote engagement and conversion, though they can also drive app installation when someone selects a call-to-action button associated with an app that hasn't yet been installed.
This approach appears to be effective: Facebook says so far in 2013 it has driven 145 million app installs from Apple's App Store and Google Play using this technique.
Facebook had no mobile ads at all in 2011, according to metrics firm eMarketer. It captured 9.4% of all online mobile ad revenue in the U.S. in 2012 and that figure is expected to rise to 15.3% by the end of this year.
In July, Facebook reported $1.81 billion in revenue, 88% of which ($1.6 billion) comes from advertising revenue, a 61% increase from Q2 2012.
eMarketer predicts that Facebook's mobile market share will stall and decline slightly by 2015 as Google rebounds after this year's anticipated decline. Google dominates mobile ad revenue in the U.S., raking in about half of the mobile ad spending there. Facebook ranks second and captures about three times as much U.S. mobile ad revenue as third-ranked Yahoo.
Facebook said the ability to create call-to-action ads has been rolled out to 10% of its advertisers, and a rollout to all advertisers should be complete in a week.