Meta plans to let people in the EU download apps directly through Facebook ads, eventually allowing the company to compete with Google and Apple’s app stores.
I’ve heard that the new type of ad will start piloting later this year with a handful of Android app developers. Meta sees an opening to try this thanks to new regulation in the EU called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is expected to take effect next spring. It considers Apple and Google “gatekeepers” and requires them to open up their mobile platforms to alternative methods of downloading apps.
Android technically allows sideloading al, although Google makes things difficult by tying its in-app billing and licensing to the Play Store, along with the scary warnings that pop up when someone tries to download an Android app from another source. Still, Meta clearly thinks it’s safer to try its test on Android first, rather than Apple’s iOS.
Meta’s pitch to developers participating in the pilot is that, by hosting their Android apps and letting Facebook users download them directly without being thrown to the Play Store, they’ll see higher conversion rates for their app install ads. At least initially, Meta doesn’t plan to take a portion of its in-app revenue from participating apps, so developers in the pilot can still use whatever billing system they want.
“New options would add more competition in this space”
A Meta spokesperson, Tom Channick, confirmed the plan to me in an emailed statement: “We’ve always been interested in helping developers distribute their apps, and new options would bring more competition in this space. . Developers deserve more ways to easily get their apps to the people they want.” Google did not respond to a request for comment.
Meta isn’t the only one looking to become a mobile app distributor when the EU DMA comes into effect. In March, Microsoft said it hopes to launch an alternative app store for games on iOS and Android in Europe next year.