Facebook’s Audience Network: it’s all about the targeting

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Facebook finally made the big announcement that marketers and app developers have been anxiously awaiting: it’s launching its own mobile ad network, called Audience Network.

Why is this a big deal? It’s simple: Facebook’s mobile ad network will deliver more Facebook-powered ads to more users, across more devices, both within and outside of the social network. That equates to a lot more ad revenue for a company that generated $2.36 billion in ad revenue in Q1 — 59 percent of which came from mobile ads.

Facebook’s mobile ad network has the potential to reshape the digital advertising landscape.

AudienceNetworkExample

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 very 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.

Facebook has established itself as the top channel for quality user acquisition due mainly to its unmatched targeting features. However, Facebook has been careful to protect its user experience by capping ad impression frequency, leading to unquenchable advertiser demand and rising costs. The sentiment from game developers has always been, “This is good, so how do we get more of it?” A ton of new ad space supported by Facebook’s targeting capabilities is pretty much the perfect answer.

In a post on its developers blog, Facebook claimed that its new Audience Network will offer three distinct benefits to advertisers and app developers:

  • Show the right ads for your audience – Advertisers want to reach the people they care about, and people want to see ads that are relevant to them. Facebook’s Audience Network takes advantage of the power of Facebook to show the right ad, to the right person, at the right time.
  • Get access to Facebook advertisers – With the Audience Network, your app will have access to Facebook’s huge advertiser base—over 1 million strong. Show ads from a diverse set of local and global brands that want to reach their customers in your app.
  • Successful ad units – Display high-quality ads in a format that’s right for your app. Choose from banners, interstitials or customizable native units that fit the look and feel of your app.

Google, Twitter Jump on the Mobile App Install Ad Bandwagon

Not to be outdone, Facebook’s little brother, or distant cousin social networking competitor Twitter, also recently got into the mobile ad network game. Earlier this month it launched its MoPub Marketplace, which enables marketers and developers to drive app installs and app engagements.

Google, which has long operated its own ad network (AdWords) has also recently started offering mobile ad network-like capabilities for advertisers. Just last week it began to offer targeted app install ads on mobile search and YouTube.

Clearly, the app install ad landscape is heating up, and so too are the efforts from Facebook, Twitter and Google to capitalize on that demand.

Time will tell whether Facebook’s mobile ad network becomes as big of a success as Google’s vaunted AdWords. While the latter generates nearly $44 billion a year in revenue for the search giant, Facebook’s mobile ad network may prove to be an even more influential business factor for the company, considering CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s insistence that the company is now “a mobile-first” business. If that is indeed true, marketers will be wise to begin testing ad campaigns on the Facebook mobile ad network as soon as possible.

David Serfaty is Director of Social Advertising at Matomy Media Group, a global digital performance-based marketing company. He can be reached at david.s@matomy.com.

Photo by Praneendra Kuver for Inside Facebook.

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