Facebook Launches Mobile Audience Network and an Anonymous App

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After being announced in April, Facebook’s Audience Network officially launched worldwide today. The pitch is simple: “Monetize your app with Facebook ads.”

It’s now open to any mobile marketer (who applies first) with a third-party app who wishes to host ads fueled by the social network’s massive social graph and arsenal of targeting data that includes anonymized information such as a person’s age, location and what books they like.

“Audience Network bridges a gap between developers and advertisers, endearing both to Facebook,” as TechCrunch put it.

It’s “a simple way to extend Facebook advertising buys across mobile apps to increase relevancy for people, yield for publishers, and results for advertisers,” commented Audience Network’s product manager Sriram Krishnan to TechCrunch. 

Coming on the heels of Facebook’s recently relaunched Atlas ad network, Audience Network is a move towards monetization for developers and more granular reach for advertisers and pits Facebook against Google’s AdMob, Yahoo’s Flurry and Twitter’s MoPub for mobile dollars.[more]

As a proof point of its effectiveness, Krishnan said users of Audience Network like Shazam saw a 37% increase in revenue, while Kim Kardashian’s Glu app claimed it earned twice as much per ad impression as with other networks. Other mobile app developers on board include Zynga, Deezer, IGN, Merriam-Webster and Vinted.

While it’s offering banner, interstitial and native ad units, Facebook promises its ad network units will be distinct, different from the typical banner ad at the edge of a screen or a popup as they are “made to look like natural parts of an app.”

“This is a growing trend within the industry, but it’s also one large companies like Facebook believe will distance them from competitors,” as CNET put it.

Separately, the social media giant is (according to the New York Times) putting the finishing touches on a new mobile app—one that will let people interact anonymously.

After building a social network based on real identity, Facebook has been easing away from insisting on real-name user interactions.

Now its users can now adopt multiple pseudonyms in multiple conversations, similar to the convention of anonymity at other brands like Reddit, Secret and Whisper. But with anonymity, there comes a price.

“The stories of mass impersonation, trolling, domestic abuse, and higher rates of bullying and intolerance are oftentimes the result of people hiding behind fake names, and it’s both terrifying and sad,” commented Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, on (of course) Facebook.

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