May 8, 2015 · 2 minutes

Facebook has spent a lot of time making sure marketers are happy with its advertising tools. Now it's trying to make consumers hate its advertisements a little bit less, too, with new ads that take people to a specific place in an app.

Here's how it works: developers purchase advertisements for their applications; interested consumers tap on those ads; and Facebook makes it so the relevant app is downloaded and opened to whatever captured the consumer's attention. The advertisements are now more than glorified links to software marketplaces.

TechCrunch uses last-minute booking app HotelTonight to explain the idea:

Previously, HotelTonight could entice app installs by making its ad say 'Get a hotel room tonight in New York City'. But if a user clicked through and downloaded the ad in hopes of booking one of those rooms, they’d have to search for New York City once the app installs. That’s a lot of effort, especially when it can take a minute or so to download apps. [...]
Now, HotelTonight could configure its in-app purchase install ad to immediately open the search results for tonight’s available rooms in NYC, or the purchase page for a particular room it thinks you’re likely to want. You don’t have to remember much or do extra work. You start much closer to purchase conversion, and HotelTonight is much more likely to earn a return on investment.
Most of Facebook's advertising-related announcements are bad news for consumers. Take the relaunch of its Atlas platform. All that did was make it easier for marketers to learn how effective their advertisements are by allowing them to track Facebook users across various smartphones, computers, and tablets.
But it makes sense for Facebook to improve these ads. People are spending more time on their smartphones than ever before, and they're impatient; better to have advertisements that make life easier for consumers than to trust people to hold their interest in an application they can't remember they downloaded.
All of which makes this one marketing-related announcement Facebook users shouldn't hate. The company isn't finding new, exciting ways to track people. It might collect more data about where people are going inside an app, but it's not like it couldn't figure that out with this kind of advertisement before, anyway.
A better ad product that doesn't further degrade whatever shred of privacy consumers are able to cling to in the modern era. Who could've imagined that?
[illustration by Brad Jonas]