Facebook’s Audience Network: Coming Soon To Mobile

This month, Facebook announced the launch of their Audience Network – “a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.” This marks the most recent push by Facebook to expand their influence on mobile, and take advertising dollars from Google’s AdMob and other mobile ad networks. But what does this mean for advertisers, exactly?

The Audience Network allows advertisers to push their ads outside of the Facebook mobile app’s newsfeed, and into mobile apps that incorporate Facebook Connect or are otherwise married to Facebook’s data. This enables Facebook to target your ads to external users as accurately as it would target within its own ecosystem. Ads can appear in an interstitial format, with an image and text, or as banners with only text.

For now, the Audience Network is reserved for advertisers looking to drive app downloads, or sponsor mobile app engagement through deep-linking, but will “expand to additional marketing objectives in the future.”

The Facebook Audience Network is being rolled out slowly across accounts, but when it does become available to you, you’ll have to know where to look for it. As far as ad creation, targeting, and pricing are concerned, nothing will change in either the Ads Create tool or Power Editor. The only difference in workflow is making sure to opt your ads into “Partner Mobile Apps” during the ad Creative creation.

(Ads Create Tool)

(Power Editor)

Partner Mobile Apps can only be opted into in addition to the mobile news feed – in other words, right now there is no way to target only the Audience Network. This presents a small problem for picky advertisers, since the image used in the newsfeed must also be used in the interstitial ad unit, which is not the same aspect ratio, and includes a text overlay. But, I imagine that we will soon be able to break out campaigns by network, allowing designers to tailor images to the separate ad formats.

In terms of performance, we have too little data on our end to make any definitive calls at the moment. Facebook admits that in its early stages, the Audience Network may provide variable results out of the gate. However, as Facebook Connect becomes more ubiquitous and the network matures, there is no reason to believe this will not be a very powerful extension of the increasingly robust Facebook Ads platform.