This week, Facebook is launching Facebook Audience Network, a unique mobile ad network that allows developers to target both standard banners and custom ad units with Facebook’s vast trove of personal data. The move will allow Facebook to de-clutter its ad space, continue to monetize itself, and allow advertisers to buy more mobile impressions than the Facebook News Feed can legitimately fit.
The move will be a significant one for Facebook, who began testing a mobile advertising platform in 2012. The efforts were abandoned at the time because margins simply weren’t high enough at the time to warrant continuation of the effort. Now, though, Facebook has come up with a more effective way to allow advertisers to participate in money-making initiatives on the social networking site.
Facebook Audience Network is designed with the advertiser in mind. Facebook will strike deals with advertisers, and the new Facebook Audience Network allows advertisers to capitalize on some bigger campaigns that previous iterations of mobile advertising on Facebook would not have allowed. Facebook will also allow advertisers to use biographical and interest data of the social network’s site to really effectively target ads. This move is an unprecedented one for advertisers, as they have never been able previously to truly capitalize on the interests shown by Facebook’s users.
Because people have a tendency to stay logged into Facebook once they have logged in, the Facebook Audience Network can then suggest ads based on their interests. Most other advertising platforms do not have the access to users’ interest data to the extreme that Facebook does, so there will be some true ad targeting muscle that is going into the Facebook Audience Network, allowing advertisers to really get a grip on what their target markets are looking for.
FAN will be delivered through one of two ways. Firstly, it could be delivered as part of existing code, which is easy enough to do. They can use whatever competing ad network or homegrown solution they use to sell and target their standard mobile ad units like drop-down banners. This would be quite similar to the banner ads that come up from time to time on mobile versions of games like Candy Crush, for instance.
The other way it can do this is through custom ad units designed to fit the apps they are hosted in. Ads can promote just about anything, and it looks like app install ads and mobile app re-engagement ads will likely be among the most popular possibilities. Certainly, users will likely not be thrilled that their personal data is being used in this way, but once users – and Facebook – get over that hump, odds are good that the new Facebook Audience Network will prove to be quite effective.