Facebook’s Audience Network platform is about to change the game when it comes to mobile ad targeting because it gives companies the power to put the social network’s data behind ads published on a variety of non-Facebook owned properties.

This article was originally published on MuddyWall.


Advertising on mobile devices will never be the same thanks to Facebook and its effort to take over the entire digital advertising market.

At Facebook’s F8 developer conference, the social networking giant announced its Facebook Audience Network platform, which could soon become the most popular and powerful ad network available. James Borow, CEO of SHIFT Marketing, says that the ad network “has the potential to change the landscape of digital advertising.”

This mobile ad network is a game-changer because until now, Facebook’s proprietary and massive amount of data on every user could only be leveraged on Facebook owned properties, which limited the reach of those ads and limited how much money Facebook could make off the data. Now, the ability to leverage the data to target influence mobile users is practically unlimited, reaching any app or mobile site that wants to partner with the social networking giant — arguably extending the reach to every mobile user in the world, whether they are on Facebook or not. Or as Facebook put it during the F8 conference, it will be the “best experience for advertisers because they get the return on investment they’re looking for.”

“This is a great move for advertisers who need the flexibility of Facebook’s buying platform and want to layer in advanced targeting,” explains Kim Giroux, vice president of paid advertising for ZOG Digital. Often, Facebook’s targeting capabilities are on par with that of networks and digital service providers that require larger agreements and financial commitment, but with the added benefit of Facebook’s own user data layered in.”

Of course, the biggest winner in this will be Facebook. The company’s business model is to collect data on as many users as possible, and then use that data to entice brands to spend money on ads. This external mobile ad network plays directly into that business plan; the only difference is the ads are moving away from Facebook properties and onto third-party sites.

By expanding its ad reach to third-party apps and websites, Facebook can add to its already hefty earnings even when its billion-plus monthly users aren’t checking their status. In the first three months of 2014, Facebook made more than $2.5B, with 59 percent of it coming from mobile ads, and Facebook investors should expect those numbers to rise dramatically once the mobile ad network is up and running at full capacity.

Facebook isn’t the first big tech company to make a foray into mobile ad networks. Google already has its AdMob mobile network and Twitter looks to be making a move by linking its MoPub ad network to its ad buying platform, and rolling out app install ads of its own.

The big question is how this will affect the average mobile web surfer. Facebook says the Facebook Audience Network won’t affect how any of its apps work or impact the mobile user experience in a noticeable way. The one million advertisers on Facebook don’t want to waste their money or time by pushing ads to people who don’t have any interest in them. By using Facebook’s data archive to target users on other mobile networks, brands will be able to put more relevant ads in front of mobile users. It’s a win-win scenario; businesses are more likely to get sales and users are more likely to find products and services they want.

Developers can sign up for the beta version of the Facebook Audience network now. The biggest ad spenders — think the likes of Amazon and EBay — will get the first crack at it, with everyone else being allowed in over the next few months.

Chris Moreno is the director of Facebook advertising for ZOG Digital, a leading independent digital marketing company based in Scottsdale, Ariz. With more than 5 years of experience in the digital space, Moreno is an expert in paid social, paid search, mobile and retargeting. Moreno comes to ZOG Digital after working as a founding member of Facebook for Business, a support channel for creating, executing and optimizing campaigns. At Facebook and now at ZOG Digital, Moreno has helped build social media communities and paid media campaigns for nationally recognized brands like National Geographic, VeriFone, Rack Room Shoes, Yogurtland, Fiesta Bowl, IMG Academy and Warnaco Brands.

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