The new ad format will launch as a pilot with a small group of Android app developers as early as later this year. The Digital Markets Act (DMA), a new regulation that is anticipated to take effect in the EU in 2024, gives Meta the opportunity to try this out, claims the report.
In accordance with the DMA’s regulations, users must be allowed to install apps from rival app stores. The European Commission said: “When a gatekeeper engages in unfair practices, such as… preventing installation of applications from other sources, consumers are likely to pay more or are effectively deprived of the benefits that alternative services might have brought.”
Per the report, Meta said to Android developers taking part in the experiment that, by hosting their apps on Facebook and enabling direct downloads from Facebook users without forcing them to visit the Play Store, they would see improved conversion rates for their app install ads.
Developers in the experiment will still be able to use whichever payment systems they like because, at least initially, Meta doesn’t aim to receive a percentage of in-app income from participating apps.
Tom Channick, a Meta spokesman, confirmed the plan to the Verge in an email: “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.”
Although sideloading apps from sources other than the Play Store has long been an option for Android users, Google continues to make it challenging by integrating its in-app billing and licensing with the Play Store. On the other hand, Apple has long opposed it, claiming that it may expose iOS users to a number of security threats. The iPhone manufacturer appears to be preparing to make the feature available to European customers this year with the release of iOS 17.