The Facebook Audience Network is an expansion of the Audience Network launched last year. It offers brands banner ads, interstitials – ads displayed before a web page – or native formats that will be displayed in the style of Facebook news feeds.
The social network is hoping that by offering brands the targeting options based on its considerable pool of data it will set itself apart from rivals Google, which runs AdMob and Apple’s iAd.
It also hopes to claim a larger slice of the fast growing mobile ad market, which eMarketer has tipped will grow by 75 per cent in 2014. Facebook is already performing strongly in this area with the company reporting last week that mobile ads accounted for 59 per cent of total revenue ($1.3bn) in its latest quarter.
Analysts have reacted positively to the launch. Forrester’s vice president and principal analyst Nate Elliott, who has previously been critical of Facebook’s ad strategy, says the network is “fantastic” news for marketers.
“It has the potential to improve the performance of all mobile advertising. And if Facebook grows its ad targeting business into other channels and works to better analyse and utilise its data, something it’s lagged at in the past, it could revolutionise brand advertising,” he says.
The network was announced at Facebook’s developer conference, F8, yesterday (30 May) alongside several other product and service developments.
It will launch AppLinks, a way to link apps without sending users to the mobile web and an update to its login that will allow 3rd party apps to allow anonymous logins.