Meta Plans to Enable App Downloads Through Facebook Ads in the EU

Meta is reportedly looking into enabling a way for users to download apps directly through Facebook ads in the EU. If successful, the company will be positioning itself in a way to compete with Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

This new branch of Meta’s advertisements is reportedly set to launch later this year, according to The Verge. Once available, it’ll start as a pilot project with a “handful of Android app developers” in the mix. “We’ve always been interested in helping developers distribute their apps, and new options would add more competition in this space,” a spokesperson said in the report. “Developers deserve more ways to easily get their apps to the people that want them.”

Under normal conditions, Meta (or any other company) wouldn’t be allowed to offer app downloads while in the Android or iOS ecosystem. However, the Facebook and Instagram parent company is banking on the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is expected to go into effect in spring 2024.

The DMA has come to the conclusion that Google and Apple are merely “gatekeepers” to their respective ecosystems. Thus the EU requires the companies to enable alternative methods of app installation. At first, the project will work under Android before Meta assumedly attempts to test it on iOS.

This method of app installation via Facebook ads is said to offer higher conversion as users won’t be automatically brought to the App Store when clicking an ad. Meta is also reported to not be taking a cut of in-app purchases from participating apps in the pilot. That may change down the road, however.

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