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Facebook extends Audience Network to mobile web

In a direct challenge to Google, Facebook has now extended the Audience Network beyond apps to include mobile web support. This is a major move for the company as it opens up the platform to a new set of publishers on one hand, while giving its advertisers a better reach.

With this new feature, Facebook will provide support for native ad formats and people-based marketing to a new set of publishers and also enable 2.5 million Facebook advertisers ‘to reach more of the people they care about on mobile devices’, the company added in a blog post.

Digital media consumption in mobile web browsers grew 53 per cent from 2013 to 2015, according to comScore. Average news sites receive approximately 40 per cent of their traffic from mobile devices and 93 per cent of their mobile audiences come via mobile web.

Ashwin Puri

Ashwin Puri

“Mobile ad spend is growing fast in APAC and is 20 per cent of total digital ad spend,” said Ashwin Puri, Director of Publisher Sales, APAC at Facebook in a press briefing. He also highlighted that Facebook is a mobile company with 76 per cent of the company’s revenue coming from mobile in Q3 2015.

The Audience Network, which was launched in October 2014, has been what Facebook calls a ‘people-based approach to mobile monetisation’. The fourth quarter report for Facebook in 2015 highlighted that the company reached a billion dollar annual run rate for advertising spend through the Audience Network, with the bulk of that value being passed to publishers.

Cheetah Mobile, Baidu, APUS, Holaverse, Shazam and LionMobi are some of the advertisers successfully using the Audience Network in APAC.

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Mr Puri highlighted that Cheetah Mobile saw an increase of two times higher CPMs compared to other networks and Shazam saw a 37 per cent increase in revenue by implementing the audience network.

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The apps using Audience Network represent six per cent of time spent within all the mobile apps, Mr Puri shared.

Bringing native ads to mobile web

Facebook highlights that native formats make up over 80 per cent of the impressions on the Audience Network today and perform up to seven times better than standard banners formats.

From July to December 2015, the number of apps in APAC that came on the audience network grew by 150 per cent and the number of apps that adopted native grew by a 155 per cent, Mr Puri said.

Native ads have been Facebook’s USP and Mr Puri explains, “We have a deep understanding of what people express to us within the platform and how brands and businesses should be connecting to the people. We think that native ad formats works the best – we were the first ones to take native mainstream and it has really working well for us.”

Audience Network will allow all publishers on mobile web to leverage Facebook’s customisable native units and also carousel ads format that showcases multiple images to create unique ad experiences that match the look and feel of their mobile website. “We’re also helping publishers create easy-to-implement native versions of standard formats, such as 300×250 medium rectangle, to improve the ads experience of every ad served from Audience Network,” the official blog post added.

Mr Puri concludes, “This opening of the Facebook Audience Network platform to mobile web is way of us helping publishers to monetise their mobile platform better.”


Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.