Facebook today begins testing its own mobile ad network. Advertisers can pay to target you with ads for app stores or websites based on your Facebook data that appears while you’re on other apps and mobile sites.
The Goal? Showing Facebook users more relevant ads wherever they go – even outside Facebook’s own properties.
“We are working on a small test in which we’ll be showing mobile ads in apps off of Facebook,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “We’ve been showing web ads off of Facebook on Zynga.com for a few months now and we think that showing mobile ads outside of Facebook is another great way for people to see relevant ads and discover new apps.”
Here’s how it works:
TechCrunch says advertisers will be able to work with Facebook and set a bid for a particular demographic. Facebook will sync its anonymous user IDs with a number of mobile ad exchanges — companies like Mobclix or Nexage, for example, though Facebook didn’t identify its beta partners.
When someone visits a particular mobile app or site on an iOS or Android device, the participating exchange will check to see if the user’s ID has a bid set to target them. If so, Facebook will pay the exchange a portion of the bid and the user will see an ad, which will look like traditional banners or interstitials linking to a mobile website or app download page. Publishers do not need to be using Facebook login for this to work, but the user will need to be signed into Facebook on their phone.
The images below show the type of ads that could be part of this trial, but they are simply examples and do not represent the advertisers or publishers involved with the test.
According to a report in TechCrunch, advertisers will be able to use most of the parameters (age, gender, location, social relationship data, etc.) that they currently can use to target ads on Facebook itself. Due to the privacy scrutiny the social network receives, it will have to be very careful about safeguarding the data is provides for targeting. Those ads can lead to App Store pages where users can download something, or to mobile websites that might feature services, ecommerce, or brand promotions. They won’t be “social” though, meaning they won’t display the names or faces of friends who’ve interacted with the advertiser. (Uhh yea – so far.)
The mobile ad network lets Facebook earn money on traffic to other apps and sites by leveraging its remarkably expansive and accurate user data set. It gives app developers and brands such a powerful way to reach specific audiences that they’ll be willing to pay more than if they advertised with a less accurate ad exchange directly.