Facebook introduced a new mobile app install procedure for developers using Facebook ads today. They can now craft ads that allow users to install apps directly inside of the Facebook app on iOS 6.
An ad featuring an install button used to send a user out to the App Store to finish installing the app. Now, the process is completed in a pop-up window that appears inside the Facebook app itself, as long as the device is running iOS 6.
This is a clever improvement and should be a nice bit of lubricant that makes people more willing to tap on an install button if they know they won’t ‘lose their place’ in the app.
Today, Techcrunch posted an article with a headline and text, which has since been altered, that construed this as some sort of special treatment given to Facebook by Apple. This is not correct, as this ability is one that was given to all developers on iOS 6 by Apple, not something done specifically for Facebook.
The feature, as Benjamin Mayo points out, relies on a new object called ‘SKStoreProductViewController‘, which allows an app to display the store to the viewer without interrupting their app session. It’s a nice feature that was facilitated by the fact that Apple changed new app install behavior to not drop users out to their springboard every time they installed an app. Now, apps are installed in the background and noted with a ‘new’ badge.
So, this is a nice new way for developers to encourage installs of their apps via Facebook ads, but it’s not some collusion between Apple and Facebook. Instead, it’s a standard feature available to all developers of apps on iOS 6.