It was only a matter of time before Facebook would make the obvious move of extending its massive user data base, unified logins, and relationships with publishers to create a mobile ad network for apps outside of its own. That time is fast approaching. According to a report at Re/Code, the social network will formally announce the mobile ad net at the F8 conference later this month.
Facebook has made no secret of its ambitions in this area. The company mentioned in a blog post in January that is was experimenting extending its owm successful app ads platform to third-party developers. Facebook executive Sriram Krishnan said in the post: “We are running a small test to explore showing Facebook ads in third-party mobile apps. In this test, we’ll be extending Facebook's rich targeting to improve the relevancy of the ads people see, provide even greater reach for Facebook advertisers, and help developers better monetize their apps. While we have run similar tests in the past, this current test is more like a mobile ad network in that we are working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers, rather than an outside ad-serving platform.”
Facebook is competing directly with Google AdMob, Apple’s iAd, and now Twitter’s MoPub, which last week started tying Twitter with the mobile ad net. Facebook has over a billion users, many of whom are trackable across desktop and mobile platforms via a unified login. But the company also has existing relationships with many publishers and developers already via its social sharing button and Facebook Connect login service. The social network could effectively vie with competitors if it can demonstrate superior targeting and reach based off user data and these publisher relationships.