Meta is strategizing to enable individuals in the European Union to directly download applications through Facebook advertisements, positioning the company for future competition with Google and Apple’s app stores.
This novel form of advertising is expected to begin as a trial with a select group of Android app developers later this year. Meta sees an opportunity to explore this avenue due to the forthcoming implementation of a new EU regulation called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which designates Apple and Google as “gatekeepers” and mandates the opening of their mobile platforms to alternative methods of app downloads.
While Android technically allows sideloading, Google complicates the process by linking in-app billing and licensing to the Play Store, accompanied by intimidating warnings when attempting to download an Android app from other sources. Nonetheless, Meta believes it is prudent to initially test this approach on Android rather than Apple’s iOS.
Meta’s proposition to developers participating in the trial is that by hosting their Android apps and allowing Facebook users to download them directly without redirecting to the Play Store, they will experience higher conversion rates for their app install ads. Initially, Meta does not plan to take a share of in-app revenue from the participating apps, allowing developers in the trial to use their preferred billing systems.
Tom Channick, a spokesperson for Meta, confirmed the company’s plan via email, stating, “We’ve always been interested in helping developers distribute their apps, and new options would add more competition in this space. Developers deserve more ways to easily get their apps to the people that want them.” Google did not provide a response to a request for comment.
Meta is not the only company aiming to become a mobile app distributor when the EU’s DMA comes into effect. In March, Microsoft announced its intention to launch an alternative app store for games on iOS and Android in Europe next year.