Facebook tests ‘AdSense-style’ mobile ad network for 3rd parties


Facebook is testing a new mobile ad network, running ads targeted according to user data on third-party apps and mobile websites for the first time. The new platform will see Facebook expanding beyond its website to syndicating ads across the web and on mobile apps, essentially offering a rival to Google’s AdSense ad network.

The move comes as the social network comes under increasing pressure from investors to make more money from mobile ads.


"We think that showing mobile ads outside of Facebook is another great way for people to see relevant ads and discover new apps," Facebook spokeswoman Annie Ta said in a statement.

Instead of relying on tracking cookies, the new solution lets advertisers bid on certain demographics and uses existing networks such as iAds and AdMob to serve appropriate ads based on anonymous ID's tied to Facebook accounts.

Facebook says its test is small and won't say if it's a precursor to an ad network. The same chatter bubbled up in June when Facebook began showing Facebook ads on Zynga.com.

Now, the social network is working with a small number of ad exchanges to show ads on iOS and Android. The ads will point to an app store or a mobile website.

Facebook won’t say which or how many advertisers and publishers are participating in the test, which is fueled by personal data users share with Facebook, such as their age, gender and interests.

Facebook will earn nearly $73 million in the U.S. this year from mobile advertising, according to research firm EMarketer. By next year, EMarketer expects the social networking giant to take in $387 million from mobile ads in the U.S. Google dominates the U.S. mobile ad market.

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