Facebook to serve interest-based mobile ads to non-users

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 28 May 2016

Facebook is expanding its Audience Network to serve ads to people who don't have Facebook accounts or aren't logged in. The move aims to accelerate reach and consolidate its position as the second largest mobile ad network.

Facebook believes it is able to gather enough solid data on non-users through Facebook technology being deployed on partner sites and apps.

Launched in 2014, Facebook Audience Network (FAN) allows marketers to serve targeted Facebook-style ads on apps and mobile websites of publishers partnered with the product.

It is the second-largest mobile ad network behind Google, but the largest for native advertising - Facebook claims 80% of FAN impressions are native. In the app space, Facebook says 6% of all time spent on mobile apps are on Audience Network partners.

In January, Facebook announced a $1 billion annual revenue run rate for Q4 2015, whereas Google Network revenue was $4.14 billion.

One of the strengths of FAN is that it can draw on the granular data of 1.6 billion Facebook users and the move to broaden beyond this group will need to be managed carefully to ensure the quality of data and targeting is not impaired.

In a blog, Facebook VP of ads and business platform Andrew Bosworth said: "One of the things we’ve heard from people is that many of the ads they see are annoying, distracting or misleading. We think companies can do better, and that’s why we’ve been focused on improving ads both on and off Facebook."

In a separate development, Facebook is allowing users to opt out of interest-based advertising on and off its platform by adjusting ad preferences.

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