Mobile Marketing

Facebook’s new Mobile Ad Network

Facebook launched their much anticipated mobile ad network this week.  Industry insiders had been eagerly awaiting the announcement which was made at the Facebook f8 Developer Conference on Wednesday.  Unlike many new mobile ad networks that launch globally, this is one that will have an immediate impact here in Australia.   The new network is called the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) and it will initially be limited to delivering ads into 3rd party mobile apps.  Facebook’s blog post announcing the new network described it as  ‘a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps’.

For advertisers already running News Feed Ads, the Facebook Audience Network will be available within the same interface and offer all the same measurement tools that currently exist.

Facebook already offer advertising on their own properties, including their mobile apps.  The new audience network will now take the same targeting and tools and apply them to other apps on both the iOS and Android platforms.  This will be done by comparing device IDs and data points with app developers to find common users.  Once common users are identified, ads will be targeted to them using the same mechanism as are currently used by Facebook.  Advertisers can currently target ads using the rich data Facebook have about users of the site.  Data collected by Facebook about interests, behaviours, location and demographics will now be available for targeting of customers using 3rd party apps – basically any other app that joins the Facebook Audience Network.  For advertisers already running News Feed Ads, the Facebook Audience Network will be available within the same interface and offer all the same ad formats and measurement tools that currently exist.

Facebook ad options

Ad formats available on the new Facebook Audience Network

With the current release, FAN is limited to ads for mobile app installs.  This is good news for developers who are keen to monetise their development efforts.  They will be able to join the Facebook network and have ads delivered within their own apps, sharing in the revenue.  For advertisers, an extended customer base becomes available and the opportunity for more targeted delivery of messages beyond the social network experience.  This means greater reach into the mobile channel, with the same level of personalised targeting you currently get on Facebook.   According to Facebook the network will expand to support a variety of marketing objectives beyond app installs, such as in-store ads and online commerce apps.  Until then, the focus is squarely on developers and brands who wish to encourage app downloads.

This means greater reach into the mobile channel, with the same level of personalised targeting you currently get on Facebook.

Mobile ads accounted for 59% of Facebook’s total ad revenue in the March quarter, so this move represents a huge opportunity to expand a core revenue centre.  By building their own network off the branded platform, Facebook are positioning themselves as a serious contender in the mobile advertising space. Once the FAN expands beyond mobile app installs, they will be up against other big ad networks including Google AdMob, and mobile social platforms like Twitter’s MoPub.

It remains to be seen how Facebook will handle the privacy implications of this move.  The FAN announcement came on the back of a series of privacy related updates to the Facebook platform, suggesting they wanted to present a strong privacy story with this launch.  In reality however, Facebook’s updates to app privacy management will have little or no impact on the new Audience Network. The main privacy changes will impact on how Facebook login works for consumers who log in to 3rd party apps.  There will be new options for managing the information consumers want apps to have access to via Facebook and an improved app management panel for privacy and personal data sharing.  While these are positive changes, the fact remains that Facebook will be serving ads into 3rd party apps independent of any consumer controlled selection.

Certainly Facebook’s access to a rich database of personalised audience data allows them to offer advertisers a premium targeting experience.  The key will be in the details of the implementation and roll out, and how effectively Facebook can extend their advertising model beyond their own platform.

 

 

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