Blogging Inside Social Apps: Social Game Marketing and Performance Advertising on Facebook

Analytics and Open Graph were big topics of discussion during the “Social Game Marketing and Performance Advertising on Facebook” panel at the Inside Social Apps Conference in San Francisco on Thursday.

Ifeelgoods Co-founder and VP of Business Development Suchit Dash, AdParlor CEO and Co-founder Hussein Fazal, Kontagent CEO and Co-Founder Jeff Tseng and TBG Digital CEO Simon Mansell joined moderator AJ Glasser for the talk.

The panelists addressed the issue of game developers focusing on cost per install rather than more long term return on investment. Tseng, of analytics provider Kontagent, said it’s more important to optimize lifetime value over acquisition cost. Mansell, of Facebook ad agency TBG Digital, said many developers aren’t tracking ROI by segment, which makes it more difficult to optimize campaigns properly. Fazal, of AdParlor, said his company stresses analytics.

“We don’t like to work with a client unless they have analytics in place,” he said. “They don’t understand the value that we create because they’re not looking at the right numbers.”

Fazal and Mansell said it is too early to know what to make of Facebook’s beta test allowing advertisers to target by Open Graph activity. For example, an ad can be directed to people who read a book or watched a show.

“Our clients are quite excited to target around the play action,” Mansell said, but he noted that the API documentation on the issue is unclear. “I have a 121-person advertising company and it’s confusing for me. I’m hoping Facebook will make that more simple.”

Mansell and Fazal agreed that Open Graph does not yet have enough scale to understand how it might be an improvement over targeting by interest.

“First actions need to pick up,” Fazal said. “Developers need to create more actions.”

Fazal said Facebook should also give third-party ad providers access to pages and apps so they can better track how ads perform. He’s also frustrated with Facebook policy that prevents his company AdParlor from working with Tseng’s analytics company Kontagent to get data about user activity in apps.

“Facebook needs to leverage us [third-party partners] as much as possible,” Fazal said. “They’re understaffed for the amount of business that they’re doing.”

Mansell said he wants to see Facebook support the Open Graph verb “play” they way it has with “read,” “watch” and “listen.”

“That [playing games] is what a lot of people are going to Facebook to do,” Mansell said. “For Facebook to get users used to different verbs would be good.”

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