Google Is Courting Facebook Developers In More Ways Than One

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And now for something truly frightening

google-adsense.pngGoogle is taking a multi-pronged approach when it comes to winning over the hearts and minds of Facebook developers. We already know that it will attempt a direct appeal to get developers to come over to Google’s side and create social applications via its OpenSocial APIs. But Google is also trying to convince Facebook developers to use Google’s new pay-per-action ads (still in beta) to get more people to install their apps on Facebook. Google’s AdSense team is specifically targeting Facebook developers with an invitation to its pay-per-action beta program (reprinted beow).

A pay-per-action (PPA) ad only costs the advertiser something if a specific action is taken by a consumer—in this case, installing a Facebook app or going to a developer’s application page on Facebook, where the developer can make money showing his or her own ads. For the most part, it seems these PPA ads will appear on Google itself or on sites elsewhere on the Web that are part of the AdSense network. Thus they will (ironically) drive more traffic to Facebook.

But there’s another, albeit speculative, scenario. According to VentureBeat, Google may try to sneak AdSense ads into Facebook itself. This is a stretch, but bear with us. Google would have to do so through a back door, by appealing to developers themselves, who control the ads on their own pages within Facebook. If Google can show generic AdSense ads on Facebook, it could show these PPA ads as well. In the letter to Facebook developers, Google curiosly says the PPA ads will appear on “individual publishers in the Google content network, including other Facebook applications.” It seems that Facebook would crack down on any such sneak attack, given its ad partnership with Microsoft. But it would be interesting to see which ads do better on Facebook: Google’s PPA ads or Facebook’s upcoming SocialAds. Let the most relevant ads win.

Here is the full text of the letter from Google to Facebook developers:

Dear Facebook Application Developer,

Would you like to drive more users to your app? We’ve expanded our pay-per-action (PPA) beta test and would like to invite you to participate by creating ads for your Facebook application.

To start setting up your first pay-per-action campaign, click on the link within the pay-per-action alert in your AdWords account and follow the simple steps at http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=68150 to get your PPA ads up & running across the Google content network and on other Facebook applications.

Key Benefits of PPA

* Save money by paying only for actions that you define, such as users adding your app. Rather than paying for clicks or impressions, you only pay when a visitor performs a specified action, such as installing your Facebook application or visiting your main application page.
* Save time by setting up AdWords conversion tracking: you can set your desired cost per action and pay for completed actions to hit your cost-per-action targets.
* Increase conversion rates by using publishers’ knowledge about visitors to their websites to your advantage. Individual publishers in the Google content network, including other Facebook applications, choose to display PPA ads that they feel will appeal to their visitors. This works to your advantage, as publishers are motivated to choose ads they believe will have a high conversion rate.

With PPA, you decide how much you want to pay for each type of action, whether it’s $1 for a user installing your application or $.15 for visiting your application page. You can also control your spending by setting a daily budget. In addition, you can view clicks, impressions, conversion rate, cost per conversion, total conversions, and total cost for each pay-per-action campaign by running a Placement Performance Report or a pay-per-action report in the Report Center of your AdWords account.

For more information about pay-per-action ads and a list of our most frequently asked questions, please visit the pay-per-action section in the Google AdWords help center: http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/topic.py?topic=11635

We are excited to offer you a new way to attract new users to your Facebook application and meet your advertising goals.a If you have any questions, please email adsense-developer-research@google.com.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

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