Facebook is thinking about letting users in the European Union download apps directly through ads on the platform, instead of redirecting them to Google or Apple's app stores.
This possibility has opened thanks to EU's Digital Market Act(opens in a new tab), which should go into effect in spring 2024. Under the new ruleset, Apple and Google will be deemed "gatekeepers," requiring them to allow users to download apps through other ways instead of just their own app stores.
According to The Verge(opens in a new tab), which confirmed the news with a Meta spokesperson, Facebook is planning to pilot this with "a handful of Android app developers," and it might happen "as soon as later this year."
In practice, this means that if an ad shows up on Facebook, advertising an Android app or game, a user clicking on the ad might be able to immediately download and install it on their device, without needing to visit Google's Play Store to do so. For developers, this might be more desirable as they could get higher conversion rates without the additional steps required to install their apps. According to the report, Facebook won't take a share of the app revenue from the participating developers — at least at first.
“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," a Meta spokesperson told The Verge.
Meta's pilot follows a similar plan by Microsoft, which said in March that it plans to launch(opens in a new tab) a mobile games app store to compete with Google and Apple in the EU.