News

POV: Facebook Expands Audience Network

Background

Facebook is set to expand the scope of the audience it can reach through its Audience Network. Currently Facebook Audience Network only serves ads to those who are signed-in to Facebook, however Facebook announced this week that it will be expanding the scope of its ad network to serve ads to non-logged in users across the Internet.

Details & Implications

Facebook Audience Network already reaches 1.6 billion users and has the ability to serve ads across multiple devices (desktop and mobile app/web).  The validation of each impression to a registered Facebook user has allowed Facebook to amass a wealth of audience data that can be used for targeting and measurement.

Through the use of Facebook plug-ins (‘Like’ buttons and comment fields on 3rd party sites), Facebook has also been collecting metadata about non-logged in users.

By expanding the scope beyond the confines of signed-in Facebook users, Facebook will now take advantage of the wealth of data it collects and serve ads across all users.

Summary

Although the shift from signed-in to unsigned-in may seem a subtle change the implications are far-reaching

  • For Facebook: Audience Network expanding the reach of its ad serving network will pose a significant threat to Google’s AdSense. The Alphabet subsidiary uses similar techniques to target potential consumers without knowing their precise identity and has up until now been almost unrivalled.
     
  • For advertisers: The enhanced capabilities of Facebook Audience Network will allow advertisers to quickly scale reach using the same Facebook data and tools that have previously been used. It also offers a viable alternative to Google.
     
  • For publishers: This will create the potential for a significant increase in yield as the value of their inventory will increases along with the quality of inventory improved by Facebook’s first party data.
     
  • For consumers: Ads will appear to be more tailored to their interests.