Facebook's mobile ad network goes live today

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 8 October 2014

Facebook is rolling out its mobile ad network globally today, growing the mobile ad inventory open to advertisers and making a land grab for mobile ad dollars.

Facebook is working directly with publishers to access inventory, not buying it from other ad exchanges.

The aim of the Audience Network is to make it easier for developers to monetise apps and make in-app ads more relevant, at the same time as extending the reach of campaigns beyond Facebook.

Ads delivered by the Audience Network come in three versions - banner, interstitial and a native format designed to fit seamlessly within the apps they appear. Facebook believes the native format will be the best performing.

When a user opens an app from one of Facebook's publisher partners, such as Huffington Post, and there is a spot for an ad, Facebook will use its identifiers to anonymously match the device with a Facebook account and serve relevant ads based on the user's previous behaviour.

Ads shown within mobile apps in this way are targeted in the same way Facebook ads are targeted, including Pages liked, interests, demographic information.

Facebook can target on mobile because it can be fairly sure the same user is still logged in to Facebook on the device, but no personal data is shared with a advertisers.

Advertisers will only know the size of the target audience, and aggregated basic demographic information about the people they reach, not individual level data, and will be given impression counts, clicks and install rates for measurement.

Users can't opt out of the Audience Network, but device based ad-blocking will still work.

The roll out is global and along with making it open to all advertisers, Facebook is adding additional types of ad units including link ads to drive traffic to mobile websites.

Facbook claims that during the trial, publishing company HarperCollins saw a 16% increase in impressions using the Audience Network, compared with previous Facebook campaigns.

As of today, all app ads and link ads are eligible to appear in the Audience Network. All publishers are invited to adopt the network, and Facebook claims its testing has delivered “consistently higher CPMs and better reach for advertisers.

A spokesperson for Facebook said: “Our goal with this is to improve the relevancy of the ads people see, help mobile developers better monetise their apps, and provide even greater reach [and] scale for Facebook marketers and developers. We believe it’s a natural extension of our advertising products that will provide marketers with access to even more people, more frequently and in more places.”

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