Facebook Improves Audience Network Ads

Chris CrumAdvertising, Developer

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Facebook is sharing some numbers on the performance of Audience Network, the mobile ad network it launched last year, which lets developers show Facebook ads within their apps and advertisers reach people beyond the confines of Facebook itself.

The company also introduced some new native ad templates for the network, as well as new native ad management tools and horizontal scroll for native ads.

Facebook Audience Network Performance

Facebook introduced Audience Network at f8 in April of last year, and gave it a proper launch in October.

Facebook advertisers can choose to have their ads appear in third-party mobile apps by way of Audience Network by choosing the option under Placement in the ads creation process:

Developers who wish to monetize their apps with these ads can apply to do so here.

"Over the last year, tests by both Facebook and our partners have shown how Audience Network ads are working for advertisers," Facebook says in a blog post. "We found that Audience Network ads work well in tandem with ads on Facebook by extending reach and delivering returns that are comparable to News Feed ads. Audience Network ads helped the US Navy increase its campaign reach by 33 percent. Rosetta Stone used Audience Network ads to drive installs of its mobile app, reducing cost-per impression by almost 40 percent and reaching people whose engagement and likelihood to purchase was nearly 30 percent higher compared to other ad networks."

Facebook mentions research by Fiksu finding that people who installed ecommerce apps from Audience Network Ads drove 20 times more revenue for the advertisers that those who downloaded the app from other display network ads. It also mentions research from Nanigans finding that cost-per-impression from Audience Network ads was comparable to News Feed ads, and even three percent lower.

Facebook says that since October's launch, the number of apps in the network has increased by 5X and that over half of developer revenue from the network comes from native ads, with publishers seeing 7x higher CPMs for native ads when compared to standard banners.

"People have trained themselves not to look at the top or bottom of an app - the most common locations for standard banner formats," says Facebook's Jenny Abrahamson. " An ad that is well integrated within the app design and naturally fits into the user flow has a much better opportunity of catching a user's attention and ultimately leads to higher conversion rates. Poorly placed ads, especially those that pop up when a user first opens an app, have an adverse effect on user experience and engagement, including lower interaction rates with future ads — even when those ads are well designed."

New Native Ad Tools

The new native ad templates for Audience Network ads are based on common ad format sizes and native ad best practices. Publishers can define font, ad height, background color, button border treatment, and various other properties so they fit in well with the app experience. That is after all what native ads are supposed to do.

Facebook is giving publishers a new way to manage multiple native ad requests so they can make sure the highest performing ad is delivered at the right time to the right person. The new native ads manager will automatically optimize for highest performing ads, and publishers can pre-fetch up to 10 ads and deliver them in the best order ranked by yield.

Documentation for implementing the native ads manager can be found here.

Finally, Facebook is giving publishers an easy way to implement horizontal scroll for native ads with a custom native template and support within the native ads manager.

The Audience Network should only prove more effective for both apps and advertisers as mobile usage continues to rise.

Images via Facebook

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.