Two years ago Facebook launched the Facebook Audience Network as part of an effort to expand the reach of Facebook ads outside of the boundaries of Facebook itself. Facebook users could then be targeted on third party mobile apps and, as of earlier this year, mobile websites in the network.
Audience Network targeting was limited to Facebook users, however. While that’s a massive audience, it’s still not everyone. Today the company is announcing that it has expanded targeting available on the Audience Network to all users, whether or not they’re on Facebook.
All users of Audience Network sites or apps can now be reached using Custom Audiences, lookalike audiences and so on. Much of the inventory in the Audience Network is shifting to native; and according to reports the performance of Audience Network inventory has been very strong.
The company said that it will use multiple signals to infer non-Facebook user audience segments.
As it expands reach and targeting, Facebook is also giving people more control over the ads they’re shown on the network, either by opting-out (via AdChoices) or adjusting their ad preferences in Facebook if they’re Facebook users.
As a general matter, Facebook is also representing that the quality of its Audience Network ads is higher than general mobile ads. These units are also “more respectful” of users in various ways. According to a blog post from Facebook Ads VP Andrew Bosworth:
Ads are reviewed against our standards and to ensure they are as respectful of people’s experience as possible. For example, we don’t permit ads that include sound unless you interact with them and we prohibit deceptive ads and ads for unsafe products and services. We’ve developed technology to determine when someone clicks on an ad on a mobile device by accident, so you don’t get taken to a website or app you didn’t mean to visit.
By offering higher quality ads and more user control Facebook hopes to address some of the frustrations that mobile users have been expressing explicitly and implicitly in the form of ad blocking.