Facebook introduces targeted mobile app ads

Facebook (s FB) is tweaking its mobile app ad unit to make it even more appealing to brands: The social media giant launched mobile app ads last year, enabling brands to advertise their apps, including a direct link to the app in the iTunes App Store (S AAPL) or Google (S GOOG) Play, directly within a users news feed. And, it was successful: According to Facebook, the ad units drove more than 145 million installs across smartphone platforms. Tuesday’s update gives brands the tools to targets users who have already downloaded an app, and encourage them to reengage with the product.

hoteltonight_newctaFor example, a smartphone user with the Spotify app already downloaded onto the phone would see a Spotify app link in his Newsfeed. However, instead of the regular “Download Now” call to action, he would be invited to see a new playlist or listen to an album from a well-known band. Facebook offers custom calls to action, like “Shop Now,” “Play Game,” or “Watch Video.”

The ad initiates a prompt on the phone to check for the app needed to interact with the content. If a user doesn’t have the proper app installed, the ad simply redirects to the app’s link to download onto the phone.

With this new ad unit, Facebook is opening up its mobile user base in a creative way, particularly to attract brands that are already winning the app download game. For example, mobile game company King may not need an ad to publicize Candy Crush Saga, but it may be able to use the ad to promote new content released within the game. Perhaps even better, users are invited to engage with content they’ve already chosen to put on their phones — enabling brands to run more enticing promotions to build loyalty.