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Facebook ads, off Facebook: The mobile ad network is here



“This is really the first time we’re going to help you monetize on mobile,” says Zuckerberg and it’s big news.

Facebook is now officially in the mobile ad network biz. They call it Facebook’s Audience Network and it’s all about putting third party ads on mobile apps.

Facebook Audience Network

The Audience Network uses the same targeting as regular Facebook ads. Actually, it uses the same everything as regular Facebook ads, all you have to do to include the new mobile option is check another box.  You can create a banner ad, an interstitial, even a native ad if you want to blend in with the scenery.

Rather watch than read? Here’s a nifty video that shows you how it works:

I love the image of the money falling out of the phone at the beginning of this video. Their depiction of the average app user? It’s an interesting choice and so not Facebook. I felt like they were subtly suggesting that the Audience Network is a way to reach people who don’t normally hang out on Facebook. Maybe I’m reading too much into the graphic style but they do say it’s “The power of Facebook ads, off Facebook.”

Which makes me wonder – if an ad isn’t on Facebook, is it a Facebook ad at all? Once you’ve bypassed the profile pages and newsfeeds, these ads are just ads like any other. Will they convert better or worse than any other mobile network (AdMob? Twitter?)

Facebook has this to say about that:

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.

Fair enough.

To start out, Facebook is favoring ads for app installs and engagement which probably have a better chance of succeeding since you’re talking to an app-using audience. From there, they plan to expand into any old ad at all.

Facebook announced a few other new features at F8 including:

  • Message Dialog (iOS and Android): Letting people share content from apps with friends through Facebook Messenger.
  • Mobile Like Button: Like the Pages or content of individual apps through a native, mobile Like button.
  • FbStart: A new program to help mobile startups grow through a package of resources and tools provided by industry leaders.
  • Send to Mobile: An easy way for people to send an app to their phone after visiting a website and logging in with Facebook.

Sounds like they’re getting serious about helping app developers become successful entrepreneurs. Might be time for me to get into the app biz.