Facebook launches rival to Google Display Network

This is probably the most important change in digital advertising in the past few years. The expansion of the FAN network will give Google a real run for the top spot in adverting dollars as search begins to fade and social/behavioral targeting becomes more viable. Watch this battle of the behemoths over the next year play out… I would buy Facebook stock today!

What is it?

Facebook Audience Network launched back in October 2014, and was a way to leverage Facebooks ad offering and expand it to other platforms. In layman’s terms, Facebook had a lot of data on people as they use different devices, so they are in a position to target ads better than most. Rather than just let people pay for these targeted ads on Facebook, they set up FAN (Facebook audience network) so people could pay for ads across many different apps or pages, much like the Google display network.

The latest news from Facebook is that they are focusing on creating a better mobile experience and are opening a Beta for further testing. Yesterday they stated that:

Today the Audience Network is expanding to include support for mobile web, bringing the value of native ad formats and people-based marketing to a new set of publishers.
Why is it significant?

The focus on mobile web makes a lot of sense. Having ads in mobile apps as the FAN has done previously can only take Facebook’s ad network so far. Browsing the web from a mobile device is ever more popular, and as of last year now makes up over half of all web traffic. Thus expanding to bring ads powered by Facebook’s audience network to the mobile web is the logical next step for expansion.

How will it be rolled out?

Facebook have announced that they are currently expanding the FAN to the mobile web for a series of publishers, so they can test the offering. This means the full range of Facebook display ad options will be available as ads on the publisher’s mobile site. So advertisers can make use of carousel ads, lead ads or any other Facebook ad product they find particularly useful.

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One useful thing about using the FAN is that you won’t have to create new ads, re-do any copy or get new creative made. They use all the same images as your ads in Facebook.

What Next?

If you are a publisher who wants to try out the Digital ad network then you can join the Beta fairly painlessly. You request to join and if you are approved you simply add a JavaScript tag to your HTML page source code and can start creating placements right away. Facebook claim publishers can go live the same day they are approved.

According to Facebook, their new ad options are going down extremely well, performing seven times better than standard banner formats. This alone could make them worth trying. Of course it is right to be sceptical if they will continue to be that much more effective as they become more common, but it may be worth being ahead of the curve and signing up for the beta before it becomes standard practice.

Source: Smart Insights