A First-Look at the Facebook Audience Network

In the “coming months” (according to the social network itself), Facebook will roll out its third attempt at a mass-audience advertising network– one that will focus more on apps (particularly mobile) than any other aspect of the site.

Dubbed the “Facebook Audience Network” (FAN for short), the company’s latest foray into advertising will allow app developers more control in managing ad placements & payments, without having to handle the work themselves. Facebook will instead act as an intermediary between advertisers and app publishers– providing advertisers with all of the targeting data they would have access to on Facebook itself.

App developers would simply need to place small bits of code to access FAN ad inventory. These ad types range from standard banners to interstitials to native advertising.

Many of us working on the programmatic side have had second-hand access to FB app inventory for some time– but, the catch has always been a lack of control & reporting over what apps were displaying what ads. With FAN, and the targeting options that come with it, this autonomy seemingly disappears.

It is safe to assume that Facebook sees this Audience Network as a significant opportunity to grow ad revenues– and, on the plus side, they aren’t flooding their own pages with any new ad types. With Twitter recently announcing its own mobile ad network, and Apple lifting the restriction on iAd, the Facebook Audience Network announcement comes at a time when both advertisers and publishers are seriously thinking mobile. It’s no coincidence that F8 (Facebook’s developer conference, which hasn’t been held since 2011) was re-invigorated this year, either, I suspect.

For more information on the Facebook Audience Network, you can check out the official announcement on FB, or watch the video below.

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