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BW Businessworld

Playing It Smart

In a direct challenge to Google, Facebook has extended its Audience Network beyond apps to include mobile web support.

In a direct challenge to Google, Facebook has extended its Audience Network beyond apps to include mobile web support. With this new feature, Facebook will provide support for native ad formats and people-based marketing to a new set of publishers and enable 2.5 million Facebook advertisers ‘to reach more people they care about on mobile devices’, the company said in a blog post.

Figures from comScore show that digital media consumption on mobiles grew 53 per cent from 2013 to 2015. Average news sites receive approximately 40 per cent traffic from mobile devices and 93 per cent of mobile audiences come via mobile web.

“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, Facebook APAC in a recent press briefing highlighing that Facebook is a mobile company with 76 per cent 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 apps using Audience Network represent 6 per cent of time spent within all the mobile apps, Puri shared.

Manish Vij, founder and CEO, SVG Media, feels that data technology is most significant for advertisers now, which is why Facebook made the move. He says, “The new AdTech is DataTech which basically means that some of the best advertising companies in the world will be companies that own significant amount of user data. Facebook owns significant amount of user data and should now extend the same to FAN (Facebook Audience Network). It will be a compelling proposition for advertisers to move some of their media dollars to FAN and for publishers to open some of their inventory to FAN. Their biggest competitor will be the Google AdNetwork.”

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.

Talking about whether this new feature will benefit brands, Shavon Barua, managing director of media agency PHD explains, “It is still early days to determine how far this will benefit the brands. When such new platforms open up, we as advertisers have a responsibility to ensure that the brands are always showcased in the right light at any given point of time.”