Facebook tries a mobile ad network

For years the digital media industry has predicted Facebook would eventually launch an ad network. Now, Facebook is making those predictions come true.

The company said today it will begin selling ads in third-party mobile apps to select advertisers. Facebook will target those ads using detailed information it has about millions of Web users.

A spokesperson for the social network told Digiday that the program will not port Facebook-style ad units to other apps, however. Instead, it will simply use its data to target whatever formats those app publishers currently sell.

“These will look like the ads already appearing in the apps we’re working with. For this test, they won’t be labeled as Facebook ads,” the spokesperson said.

In 2012 Facebook ran a similar test, in which it purchased mobile media from ad exchanges on behalf of advertisers. This time it’s working directly with publishers and markers, however, in a more traditional ad network model. Facebook itself will be the only middleman.

“We are working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers rather than an outside ad-serving platform,” a Facebook blog post said.

Facebook already operates its own ad exchange, of course, through which marketers can buy ads on the site targeted on their own data. But these mobile tests are some of the first attempts by Facebook to take its proprietary data and make it useful for marketers buying ads elsewhere on the Web.


More in Media

YouTube is under fire again, this time over child protection

Adalytics Research asks, ‘Are YouTube advertisers inadvertently harvesting data from millions of children?’

Illustration of a puzzle that spells out the word 'media.'

Media Briefing: Publishers pump up per-subscriber revenue amid ad revenue declines

Publishers’ Q2 earnings reveal digital advertising is still in a tight spot, but digital subscriptions are picking up steam.

Lessons for AI from the ad-tech era: ‘We’re living in a memory-less world’

Experts reflect how the failures of social media and online advertising can help the industry improve the next era of innovation.