August 8, 2012, 10:46 AM

Facebook tests another mobile ad format

It’s the first time mobile users can see ads that don’t feature their friends’ actions.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Facebook Inc. is testing a new mobile ad format designed to drive consumers to download marketers’ Facebook applications, including social games. For social game applications the ads appear in a box labeled, “Try these games,” that appears in between panels in the news feed, the first page a consumer sees when viewing Facebook on a mobile device. Facebook could not be reached for immediate comment on how non-social game applications will be presented.

When a consumer clicks on the one of the ads, it opens up either the Android or Apple Inc. iOS App Store product page. There the consumer can click to install the application.

The ad unit is pay per click, not pay per install, so retailers and other advertisers will pay every time a consumer clicks on an ad.

Marketers can target consumers by gender, age, location and mobile operating platform.

The new ads are Facebook’s second mobile ad unit. The social network earlier this year began allowing marketers to target mobile users with its Sponsored Stories ad format that appears in a consumer’s news feed. Sponsored Stories enable advertisers to highlight posts or actions, such as when a consumer’s Facebook friend Likes a product, checks into a store, plays a game or uses a Facebook application.

Facebook is increasingly focused on figuring out how to monetize the traffic that comes from mobile users. The social network had 552 million mobile users as of June 30. And 102 million of those consumers accessed the social network solely through an app or mobile site in June, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

That’s why Facebook is heavily investing in mobile, said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, last month when the company released its second quarter earnings.

During the second quarter the social network launched a Facebook Camera app for iPhone users and rolled out several updates to its Android app. It also made several mobile-focused acquisitions, including research and design firm Bolt Peters and photo-oriented social network Lightbox.

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