Today Facebook launched the Audience Network, its new ad network for mobile apps. Here’s what that actually means: starting today, you’re going to see “Facebook ads” inside the free apps you use. Today, those tiny, often-annoying annoying banner ads might be provided by Google, Flurry, or MoPub . From now on, many of them will be provided by Facebook. And since Facebook knows a lot more about you than many of these companies, the ads you see inside apps might get creepier — or “more relevant.” It’s all about how you look at things.
A “like” on Facebook is worth a lot to advertisers there. Now it’s also worth something to advertisers in other mobile apps. Facebook’s having a coming-out party for its “audience network,” an ad network that lets existing advertisers on Facebook also have their ads placed in a large number of apps outside Facebook. The system stands to let Facebook reap even more lucrative rewards in mobile advertising, where it already makes the bulk of its revenue. Through the network, any of Facebook’s 1.5 million active advertisers can opt to have their campaign extended to other participating mobile apps. Facebook then places that company’s ads in other publishers’ or developers’ apps, if Facebook determines it would be relevant to users there.