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Facebook Audience Network: What It Is & Where It’s Headed

A year and a half ago, Facebook jumped into the mobile network arena with the creation of its Facebook Audience Network or FAN for short. Ingesting thousands of apps into a closed network, FAN allows advertisers to utilize Facebook’s wealth of audience and interest data outside of the social media platform. For those media buyers that have taken advantage of this offering, they know it has performed well.

Unsurprisingly FAN has grown into one of the largest ad networks in the world, accounting for 6% of total mobile ad spend. This means if you haven’t heard of it yet, you will need to.

Since Facebook has been making some major moves lately, we decided to dedicate a post to share some insights into the benefits of FAN and how it performs.


User Base: With FAN’s sizeable user base of 1.6 billion users, reach, scale and frequency are not hindered when targeting defined audiences; however, even with that amount of users, media buyers should look to run audience reports via Facebook’s ad platform to ensure scale.

Data: FAN allows buyers and brands to use the large sum of audience and interest data collected by the social media giant. That data makes Facebook exceedingly valuable. The ability to target across a closed premium app network is a huge inherent benefit.

Variety of Ad Units: FAN employs both display and video formats across image based units as well as sneakier, organic ads via its native offering. With more and more users affected by banner blindness, the native inventory that exists across this network is key to driving engagement and increasing site traffic.

Past Results:

Spotify Quick Case Study: Major brands such as Spotify have used FAN’s expansive reach and unique audience insights and have reported a high level of success. After after buying media and targeting Facebook audiences on FAN, Spotify reported reach increased 20% compared to past social campaigns.

Awlogy’s Experience: We take this study and claims made by the social media giant with a grain of salt especially when numbers as large as “20%” are thrown around. Having said that, we’ve seen FAN perform fairly well across campaigns strictly focused on awareness and site traffic.

The Future and Opportunity:

As FAN’s closed app network expands, Facebook has been simultaneously tightening the noose on FBX, Facebook’s ad exchange. We predict, along with many others, that Facebook will eventually discontinue FBX, thereby requiring advertisers to make all media buys directly through the company versus a 3rd party provider.

As Facebook builds higher walls around its “data garden” by severing 3rd-party partnerships and slowly gutting FBX, advertisers across the digital space are crying foul. Direct buys through Facebook come with limitations. The biggest objection occurs because of FAN being a blind network, meaning they offer zero app transparency for media buyers.

This is a valid complaint and a reflection of a larger industrial shift. But what the Audience Network lacks in transparency it makes up for in relevancy and consistent consumer experience. With an audience first focused approach, Awlogy values Facebook’s impressive amounts of audience and interest data. We’ve found that, as the name implies, campaigns on the Audience Network deliver valuable results that reach the right audiences based on targeting goals.

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