This new ad network lets Facebook serve up targeted ads to mobile users wherever they are, using their Facebook data as a way to target specific interests or demographics. It also lets advertisers extend their Facebook ad campaigns into other applications. It will compete with Google’s AdMob advertising network, though Facebook has more personal data on users than Google does, and thus could theoretically give advertisers better targeting options.
Given that Facebook already runs its ads on other websites via its Atlas advertising platform, you can expect to see highly-targeted Facebook ads just about everywhere. It might be helpful, considering advertisements based on your personal data might appeal more to you—for instance, I usually see ads for fashion companies on Facebook, which I find more helpful than ads for gym memberships.
Developers can also use the ad network to provide “native advertising” to users, a tactic for making ads look more like they’re part of an app’s information itself.
“We’re really big believers in native advertising as a product,” Sriram Kirshnan, product manager of the Audience Network, said in an interview. “For example if you look at the ads on Facebook’s own news feed, they look like any other organic content on Facebook. We’ve been able to take the idea of native ads, and bring it broadly to all developers through the Audience Network.”
But now just like on the Web, advertisers will be able to use your data to distribute ads. That won’t just be native advertising that Facebook supports, but also banners that appear at the bottom of the app, and full-screen ads that take up your entire screen. Personalized, yes, but no less annoying.
How To Join The Audience Network
For advertisers, it’s easy—they’ll build an ad campaign in Facebook, and then select a new checkbox that says, “Make available to partner networks.” Then ads will be shown both on Facebook proper and in third-party apps.
Developers can sign up with Facebook and download the software development kit to get started on the Audience Network. Then by writing a few lines of code and integrating the SDK, apps can start running Facebook-powered apps.
Lead image by Selena Larson for ReadWrite