Facebook launches Audience Network — a mobile ad network

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As rumored, Facebook officially announced Wednesday at f8 a mobile ad network — Audience Network — that takes the power of Facebook data and allows advertisers to use that outside of “the big blue app.”

Sriram Krishnan, Facebook Product Manager, talked with Inside Facebook about what Audience Network can do for mobile advertisers:

The idea behind the Audience Network is now they can use all the targeting they were used to on Facebook, but now extend the reach of those campaigns to other apps, as well. For example, we’ve talked with Hipmunk, where Hipmunk wanted to find people who were searching on their website and show them an ad for the Hipmunk app. So they can do that using the Audience Network. Previously, we could do that only inside Facebook. For advertisers, it’s just a great way for them to reach the audience they really care about and show them ads that the people want to see.

10333109_784969801521891_720131556_nFacebook had been testing this on a limited basis previously, but now a wider range of mobile advertisers will be able to take advantage of this.

Facebook described what the Audience Network is in a blog post:

Facebook ads work because they’re personal, relevant and easy to measure on both desktop and mobile. The Audience Network brings these same powerful features to additional app-based mobile experiences, giving marketers even more scale for their Facebook campaigns.

The Audience Network uses the same targeting available for Facebook ads today, including Custom Audiences, core audiences and lookalike audiences. It features the same measurement tools marketers use for their Facebook ads, too.

David Serfaty, Director of Social Advertising, Matomy Media Group is a fan of this move:

A mobile ad network places Facebook on the same playing field as Google in terms of its influence, reach and relevance to advertisers. It offers Facebook advertisers more opportunities to target consumers based on their demographic, interest or behavioral data. Facebook has already made impressive inroads with its ad-targeting capabilities. Its mobile ad network will expand those capabilities by giving advertisers the ability to reach more Facebook users more often with native in-app ad types.

Mobile app developers will be especially excited about this development. None more so than those in the games industry who have been crying out for more mobile ad inventory on Facebook for quite some time.

Andrew Foxwell, CEO of Facebook marketing firm Foxwell Digital, feels that this will succeed if it is well-adopted and if Facebook can bring the same ad experience outside of their platform:

In releasing the Facebook Audience Network, advertisers will soon be able to broadcast and utilize the powerful and precise targeting methods currently available only on Facebook, to many more channels throughout the mobile web. The reason so many online marketers have been championing Facebook mobile ads is, simply put, they work very, very well. Companies reach new customers through sophisticated means (in other words, their advertising dollars are spent exactly how they want), they sell more products with targeted ad spend, and they continue to see sustainable returns on their investment. With this track record, it only makes sense to push Facebook’s successful mobile ad units out to a broader pool, right?

Yes, but the success of the Facebook Audience Network depends on two very important factors: 1) the other online mobile partners Facebook will choose to utilize and engage with, and 2) the degree to which Facebook can successfully replicate their unique advertising experience outside of their own platform for both users and advertisers. Both groups need to feel comfortable in knowing not only how (Audience Network) will actually function but also how it will improve and enrich their online experiences.

Photo by Praneendra Kuver for Inside Facebook.

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