Facebook’s own advertising network is finally here. Today at Facebook’s F8 developer conference, the company announced the social network is officially launching a way for developers and publishers to distribute Facebook ads in third-party applications.
Called the Facebook Audience Network, the ad network will use Facebook data to target users with personalized advertisements across a wide range range of non-Facebook apps. These ads will be similar to the targeted commercial messages they already see on the social network itself; now they’ll just be everywhere.
Facebook began testing an ad network in January with a handful of partners, and is rolling it out to developers and publishers today.
News of Facebook’s ad network leaked last week, although Facebook played them down at the time. Just last week COO Sheryl Sandberg claimed the company was in “very early testing for a mobile ad network.”
A Booming Ad Business
Facebook’s mobile advertising business is on a tear—it now accounts for almost 60 percent of the company’s overall ad revenue. And even as Facebook’s user growth has plateaued in countries like the U.S. and Canada, advertising revenues continue to climb.
A large chunk of that revenue comes from app install ads—advertisements that prompt users to download an application right from an advertisement. Those ads have been so successful for Facebook, other companies like Twitter and Yahoo are following suit.
The Facebook Audience Network will compete with Google’s AdMob advertising network that places targeted Google ads on third-party sites and apps. But Facebook’s advantage is that the social network has a much richer trove of personal information and can provide advertisers with better-targeted advertisements.
A Boon For Developers
Many developers are already building apps using Facebook developer tools. Parse, the backend-as-a-service startup Facebook acquired last year, makes it easier for developers to build multi-platform applications. Facebook Login, a tool that allows users to login to applications and websites with their Facebook information, powers more than half of total social logins online, according to a report from social analytics firm Gigya.
Many developers are looking forward to creating and distributing Facebook-powered ads.
“A lot of users use Facebook Login, and if developers can leverage that information and complete the loop using Facebook to source the personal information from that person, and leverage that to connect with ads for Facebook, that can be extremely powerful,” Ashish Toshniwal, CEO of Y Media Labs, told ReadWrite in an interview.
Facebook Audience Network will allow developers to bring all their app-building strategies under one roof, giving Facebook the power to help build, manage, and monetize apps each step of the way. With Facebook Login, developers already have some idea of the demographic data behind their users. With targeted advertising, those app users will see more relevant ads as they go from app to app.
Image courtesy of Selena Larson for ReadWrite