We all know how the annoying experience of tapping a link to an App Store app on the iPhone. You’re immediately thrown out of whatever app you’re in and forced to view the app’s full page in the App Store. Thankfully, that cumbersome experience no longer exists for app ads in the official Facebook iOS app.
When a developer pays to show an ad for their iOS app in your Facebook feed, you’ll now be able to open and install said app without ever leaving Facebook. This is the first time we’ve seen the ability for users to download an App Store app from a pop-up window.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that any regular App Store link will display this way. Only official app ads that developers pay Facebook for will let you view and download in Facebook itself. TechCrunch explains:
Facebook’s mobile app install ads are bought on a cost per click basis, not a cost per download. That means developers may have been weary to pay for clicks because people wouldn’t always complete the download process. Some users would be surprised and perturbed to be booted from Facebook and pushed into the iOS App Store app when they click “Install App”. They might have immediately backed out and reopened Facebook before initiating the download.
Now there’s a lot less friction in the ad-click-to-install process. In the short term, that should make the ads more valuable to developers and get them to make Facebook a staple of their marketing spend. In the long-term, it could train users to be less afraid of clicking on mobile app install ads.
In the past, I have decided to not actually check out an app in the App Store because I was so peeved about being thrown out of the app I was already in. This new experience in the Facebook app makes App Store discovery much smoother, and I hope more App Store pop-up windows start appearing in other prominent iOS apps.
Apple recently introduced Smart App Banners for advertising App Store apps on the web, but even those ads only let you view an app in the App Store, not download it right away from the banner.