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A Complete Guide To Facebook Audience Network

Sean Thomas Martin Junior III
Sean Thomas Martin Junior III
Director of Content
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What’s the difference between the Facebook Audience Network and ordinary Facebook Advertising?

In fact, what makes social advertising so special in the first place?

These are the types of questions that often plague digital marketers or CMOs as they wonder if PPC and social advertising is right for them. But you don’t have to be intimidated.

Facebook is a friendly and helpful tool that should empower your overall advertising and brand strength.

In fact, many digital marketers who’ve seen success with Facebook advertising are frustrated when they can’t seem to scale they’re success beyond the social ad platform. They know the power of Facebook targeting and they want to be able to use it elsewhere.

And the Facebook Audience Network is just that. It’s the power of ordinary Facebook advertising on steroids.

What Is The Facebook Audience Network

To be brief, the Facebook Audience Network is a collection of Facebook-approved mobile apps and websites where ads are shown.

The Facebook Audience Network is where you get to take the power of Facebook advertising off Facebook itself.

Just a few of the benefits are:

  1. Facebook Audience Network greatly increases reach
  2. Facebook Audience Network offers native ads, which improve user experience by making ads feel less salesy and more natural
  3. Facebook Audience Network allows ads to “follow” users across multiple devices and platforms, thus empowering remarketing down the line

According to Facebook, 40%of the top 500 apps are integrated with the Facebook Audience Network. On top of that, 80% of audience network ads are native (which draw seven times greater cost-per-impression and 20-40% higher revenue per user than its banner ads).

I know, a lot of stats. So let’s get to the real human benefits, shall we?

5 Benefits Of Joining The Facebook Audience Network

There’s plenty of benefits to joining the Facebook Audience Network that take advantage of the strengths ordinary social advertising offers while diversifying the platforms you can use.

1) Reach

The audience network allows you to reach Facebook users when they aren’t on Facebook, and even allows you to reach people who aren’t Facebook members at all, because of the data Facebook has gathered from third-party sites and apps.

Just as the Google Display Network allows you to expand the reach of your Google Ads beyond the SERP. The Facebook Audience Network allows you to market and remarket to users off the actual Facebook interface.

2) Additional Remarketing Opportunities

This means you can expand the reach of your campaigns significantly, which makes it ideal if you have high reach objectives or a small niche audience which you need to reach because it provides you with additional opportunities to reach them.

The inclusion of more apps for you to advertise on allows you to interact with users not only across more platforms, but at different stages of the buyer’s journey to remarket to them at the most opportune moment.

3) Security

As an added bonus (because we all value our security), Facebook claim that the Audience Network is virtually fraud-free and doesn’t have bot traffic.

4) Lower Cost Per Click

Now isn’t that something we all like to hear as digital marketers?

It’s true that he Cost Per Click on the Facebook Audience Network is often lower than other placements such as Newsfeed.

This means that – if you know how to setup your audience network campaigns correctly –  you’ll not only be generating a wider reach and more conversions, but at a lower cost as well.

5) Advertiser Outcome Score

The last thing to consider is Facebook’s continuous commitment to improving the content on the Audience Network. This is where the “Advertiser Outcome Score” comes into play.

This is feedback that publishers are given about how ads perform on their content, compared to the Newsfeed.

The hope is to encourage publishers to continuously improve their own content.

Because, just like Google PPC, the more time users spend browsing and clicking on Facebook, the more money Facebook makes. So they want to reward you for high-quality ads just the same.  

Keep that in mind as you try to maximize the ROAS and ROI of your different advertising campaigns.

As AdEspresso’s in-depth cost analysis showed: the average audience network CPCs consistently stayed well under $0.10, while all other placements ranged from $0.20 (mobile newsfeeds) to over $0.70 (Instagram Ads).

blog post image facebook audience network img 1
I’ll take those prices any day - Image source

How The Facebook Audience Network Works

As a basic rule for understanding how to use the Facebook Audience Network, you’re going to have to master the five fundamental types of audience network ads:

  • Native Ads
  • Banner Ads
  • Interstitial Ads
  • In-stream Video Ads
  • Rewarded Videos

After that, you’ll need to know how to join the Facebook Audience Network and get started. But one step at a time.

blog post image facebook audience network img 2

A brief diagram of what some of these ads look like - image source

Native Ads

Native ads give you the control to design the perfect ad units for your app. With our Native Ad API, you can determine the look and feel, size and location of your ads.

Because you decide how the ads are formatted, ads can fit seamlessly in your application.

Facebook provides plenty of tools available for publishers to build native ads. Leverage a Native Ad Template for implementation ease or you can use their Native Ads API for a completely custom experience.

Essentially native ads are so organic to the user experience that they function perfectly within the interface of the specific platform (sound like the audience network yet?).

Banner Ads

Banner Ads are the ads that show at the top of your app while you’re using the app itself. These can sometimes be a bit forward, so you need to make the most of the brief version of a mobile popup.

For anything you might need regarding banner sizes you can check out some of these examples or refer back to our master guide on Facebook banner ad sizes here.

Interstitial Ads

This ad type can get a little bit wonky. The Audience Network allows you to monetize your apps with Facebook ads but they don’t necessarily have to be within Facebook or the app itself.

An interstitial ad is a full screen ad that you can show in your app. Typically interstitial ads are shown when there is a transition in your app. For example -- after finishing a level in a game or after loading a story in a news app.

These can be integrated, cross-platform campaigns that help develop your brand awareness. Or, you can go a more direct download approach if you’re looking for more app installs.

In-stream Video Ads

In-stream video ads….

Everybody’s favorite across Facebook, Youtube, and the like...right?

Yeah...I thought as much.

Which is why making sure that you make your In-stream video ads as natural, native, and delightful as possible is so important. Not everyone wants to have your products/services forced upon them with autoplay video ads, especially when the “skip-in-5-seconds” button is slowly becoming a thing of the past.

Make sure you keep your in-stream video ads short, sweet, and to the point. Focus on features that relay the benefits of your product/service/app directly to the viewer as soon as possible.

That way, you may have a chance at retaining their attention through the ad as they desperately try to get back to their viewing experience in a world where we all thought commercials were done for.

Rewarded Videos

Rewarded video ads are actually a rare, in-app advertising experience that you can take advantage of to make the most of this game-obsessed, mobile-first generation.

These are video ads that play in an interaction with the user where they will opt in to watch the video in exchange for virtual currency or in-app item/ etc.

These are steadily growing more and more available across all apps, so it’s important that you can link your ads to relevant apps, games, products, and services.

But, it’s also important that you can link these opt-in video ads to important items/events in the apps/games to encourage high CTRs and completion rates for the sake of your campaign’s success and budget.

How to Join Facebook’s Audience Network

Joining Facebook’s Audience Network is actually pretty easy; it just takes about fifteen minutes, and Facebook walks you through the whole thing.

To get started, go ahead and click here.

blog post image facebook audience network img 3

Another helpful diagram courtesy of Adespresso - image source

First, you’ll either create a new App ID, or select an App you already have connected to Facebook.

To create a new App ID, all you need to do is name the ID and enter in the URL.

blog post image facebook audience network img 4

Next, you’ll add your app.

Start this process by entering in your app’s iTunes or Google ID.

blog post image facebook audience network img 5

Once you do this, you’ll create your ad spaces.

There are only four allowed per platform, and they can’t be deleted- only edited.

blog post image facebook audience network img 6

Once you create your ad space, you can then create an ad placement within it.

blog post image facebook audience network img 7

Next, you’ll integrate the Audience Network’s SDK with your app, test its integration, and submit your app for review. You can see Facebook’s guides on how to do this here, depending on the platform type.

After you do this, just provide payout information so that Facebook can send you your check when it comes ;) .

blog post image facebook audience network img 8
Feels nice to be done right? Well get ready to get started again.

7 Tips On Optimizing Your Facebook Audience Network Performance

Facebook ads work because they’re personal, relevant and easy to measure on both desktop and mobile.

The Facebook Audience Network brings these same powerful features to additional app-based mobile experiences, giving marketers even more scale for their Facebook campaigns.

It allows the same targeting available for Facebook ads today, including Custom Audiences, core audiences, and lookalike audiences. It features the same measurement tools marketers use for their Facebook ads, too.

These are the things you need to take advantage of.

And if you’re looking to master the inner workings of Facebook there’s no better place to click than here.

1) Trust That You Can Rely On Simple Insights

We all need reliable and easily decipher data to make the quickest, most needle-moving adjustments to our campaigns. The Facebook Audience Network allows for tracking via the Facebook SDK or third party tracking sites to make this easier.

Marketers can measure app engagements and conversions, demographic information and more with the Facebook SDK or by working with a mobile measurement partner.

Using this, the results from Facebook campaigns and Audience Network campaigns can be broken down separately to show what’s working and what isn’t.

Or if you want a more “God’s eye point-of-view” your results can be viewed comprehensively.

2) Take Advantage Of Advanced Targeting

The targeting used for audience network is the same as that used on standard Facebook ads, and it can be used on the following ad formats / campaign types in the Facebook ads interface:

  • Clicks to Websites (user clicks ad through to your website)
  • Website Conversions (user clicks ad through to your website – ads are optimised to show to those most likely to convert)
  • Mobile App Installs (user clicks ad and is taken to install the app being advertised)
  • Mobile App Engagement (user clicks ad and existing app on their phone opens at specified page in app)
  • Dynamic Ads (user clicks ad through to your website)
  • Video Views (user views video ad)

You can learn more about the type of content your ads might appear in on the Audience Network here.

3) Use The Right Image Dimensions/Aspect Ratios

Whenever you’re managing some type of user-focused advertising campaign you need to keep in mind that you’ll be relying on image-based ad content.

Which means that your image dimensions and aspect ratios are key.

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Here’s some real-life dimensions for some of these ads - image source

You can absolutely use both video ads and still images, whichever you prefer.  You should, however, stick to the correct aspect ratios for both to guarantee that they look great. By Facebook’s own recommendations, these are:

  • Square (1:1) and full landscape (16:9) for in-stream ad placements; Facebook recommends sticking to these ratios if you’re using both Facebook and Audience network placements.
  • 9:16 and 16:9 for both rewarded videos and native, banner, and interstitial ads.

If that little run down isn’t enough for you though, don’t worry, we have a comprehensive post on all of Facebook’s display ad sizes that you can read in the link.

4) Don’t Miss The Potholes

Unlike the Google Display Network, there is no visibility of the exact content that your ads have been shown with.

This means that you'll never know exactly what content your ads have been shown next to.

If your brand is particularly sensitive to the kind of content you would want your ads shown near, you might want to think twice before opting into the Audience Network as this is not something you’ll have much control over.

5) Watch Your Columns

You should also keep in mind that there is no frequency cap on the Facebook Audience Network, which means you are unable to limit the number of times per day or week a user sees your ads.

This could result in your ads becoming annoying to users if they see them too often and you might end up suffering from ad fatigue and burnout.

So just keep an eye on your ad rotation and diversity to make sure you aren’t turning into white noise. Even with the diverse reach and visibility of the Facebook Audience Network, nobody is immune to ad fatigue. 

Keep an eye on the frequency of your ads (customize the columns in the reporting interface to include the frequency column) to ensure that your ads don’t become a nuisance by being shown at very high frequencies on the audience network.

6) Isolate an Audience Network Ad Set

We love isolated ad sets in any way, shape, or form. So it’s no surprise this is a tactic we’d advise.

This is because the Audience Network is likely to convert at different rates compared to the other placements, and by having it in a separate ad set you can allocate it a separate budget based on its performance.

The more segmented and organized your different campaigns and sources are the easier it will be to readjust budget for easy wins and low-hanging fruit later on down the optimization road.

7) Optimize For Mobile

Keep in mind that you’re targeting a mobile-first user base with social advertising to start with.

Now that you’re diving in to the app-verse of social media you’ll need to be mobile optimized even more.

If for any reason your website or landing page is not mobile optimized, avoid the Audience Network because it is fully mobile-only, and means the traffic arriving on your site will be from mobile devices.

But don’t be afraid of the mobile-first movement.

Many social advertisers say they’ve experienced huge improvements in their performance courtesy of the audience network.

Isn’t it about time you try it?

Takeaways — Extend Your Reach With The Facebook Audience Network

We’ve all been talking about taking our paid advertising strategies to the next level with Facebook and social PPC for some time now. But, as digital marketers on the cutting edge of technology and marketing strategy, aren’t we supposed to be ahead of the curve?

It’s time you take the advanced tactics of Facebook and ordinary social advertising and spread it across the app-verse.

Take Facebook advertising off Facebook with the Facebook Audience Network and see your performance take off as well.