Facebook launches mobile ad network

Facebook has launched a mobile advertising network that will allow it to serve adverts in third party smartphone apps. The Facebook Audience Network will support IAB banners, interstitials and native advertising.

Facebook, which announced the network at its F8 developer conference this week, said that it will offer the same level of personalisation and targeting as adverts sold within its own inventory.

While the service will be restricted to in-app advertising to begin with, Facebook indicated that its plans involve further expansion at some point. “The Audience Network is starting with advertisers looking to drive app installs or app engagement,” the firm said in a statement. “We’ll expand to include additional marketing objectives in the future.”

It also sought to manage expectations in terms of performance. “Since we’re still in the early phases of the Audience Network, we anticipate performance to vary at first. We expect to see performance increase as more ads, apps and publishers come onto the system,” Facebook said.

Ovum analyst Eden Zoller said Facebook’s move into third party inventory was “highly significant” but suggested that the social network will face stiff competition from the likes of Google’s AdMob, Millennial Media and Twitter’s MoPub. Mobile advertising accounts for 59 per cent of Facebook revenue, Zoller said, adding that Audience will play a “key role in driving further growth” and “keep at least some of [the other] players awake at night.”

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