Rumor Mill: Facebook to unveil Facebook Audience Network mobile ad network this week

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) will unveil a mobile advertising network this week at its f8 developer conference called Facebook Audience Network, according to TechCrunch. The conference starts April 30.

The report, which cited unnamed sources, said the mobile ad network will allow developers to target both standard banners and custom ad units using Facebook's vast reservoir of users' personal data. The potential benefits are that such an ad network could let developers make more money, advertisers target their mobile ads more effectively and allow Facebook to get revenue without adding ads to its own mobile apps.

A Facebook spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month Re/code reported that Facebook would launch a mobile ad network in April. The action would put Facebook in direct competition with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) AdMob, Millennial Media, Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iAd and other mobile ad networks. Re/code said Facebook has long been considering an ad network, but waited until its mobile ad business was up and running before it decided to launch one.

Facebook will make deals with advertisers, TechCrunch reported, and will allow for larger ad campaigns. The network, dubbed FAN, will let advertisers also reach users based on biographical and Facebook interest data, and also use cookie-based retargeting as well. That could help make ads much more relevant to users. In exchange for delivering the advertisers and targeting, the report said Facebook will take in a large piece of the revenue it charges, and then give the rest to the publisher.

Developers will be able to easily integrate code to run FAN as a replacement for whatever competing ad network or solution they use to sell existing mobile ads. The report also said ads will be delivered via FAN through custom ad units tailored to fit the apps they're hosted in. For example, the report said, a navigation app could show "promoted locations" pins that are ads for nearby restaurants or businesses.

Mobile advertising is becoming big business for the social network. Facebook said total revenue in the first quarter jumped 72 percent to $2.5 billion, with advertising revenue making up $2.27 billion of that, up 82 percent year-over-year. Facebook now gets 59 percent of its advertising revenue from mobile, up from 53 percent the fourth quarter and a huge jump from 30 percent in the year-ago period. Facebook counted 1.01 billion mobile monthly active users as of March 31, an increase of 34 percent year-over-year.

For more:
- see this TechCrunch article

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