Facebook Talks Ad Tech for Devs, Hits 250M Users

Social networking giant Facebook has rolled out a new set of ad-targeting technologies to better help developers monetize their applications and expanded its virtual currency program across the Facebook Platform.

The news comes amid another mile marker for the company, which on Wednesday triumphantly announced that it had signed up its 250 millionth user.

“The rapid pace of our growth is humbling and exciting for us, and it affirms that people everywhere are realizing the power of staying connected to everything they care about on Facebook,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post.

Much of Facebook’s success has been attributed to the pioneering launch of its developer Platform in May of 2007. Facebook has encouraged developers to promote their apps through many of the same methods that ordinary users share information on the site, such as requests and stream stories, as well as application bookmarks and an app directory.

The company is now boasting that its new targeting technologies can help developers boost their presence to serve ads to members of the community who were previously beyond their reach.

“Developers can now target ads to users who have never visited their applications to tap into new growth areas in Facebook’s social graph,” Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s manager of business development, wrote in a blog post.

Additionally, Facebook is inviting select developers to participate in an alpha test to accept payments from users via its virtual currency platform, Facebook Credits.

Facebook currently offers its virtual payment platform in 15 currencies, with hopes to build the quirky business into a handsome revenue stream, both for itself and the developer community.

“We believe that, as Facebook Credits become more broadly available on Platform, they will meaningfully improve developer monetization and provide a great experience for users,” Osofsky said.

Facebook’s finances have been the subject of considerable interest of late, as the company earlier this week confirmed that it is moving ahead with the second phase of a deal with Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies. That deal, which gave Facebook a $6.5 billion valuation, rekindled speculation that it is moving toward a public offering, a move that the company has been hinting at throughout the year.

In terms of its traffic, Facebook’s 250 million milestone puts further distance between it and MySpace, its largest competitor. Last month, Facebook eclipsed MySpace by online metrics firm comScore’s tally of U.S. users. That report was a largely symbolic changing of the guard that underscored Facebook’s ascendance, padding the lead it had taken by measure of global audience last August.

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