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Facebook?s news app more significant for marketers than audience network expansion

Facebook already dominates social advertising, but the network is not resting on its laurels and continues to try to deliver compelling new reasons for marketers to invest, including with new formats for its mobile ad network and by testing a breaking news app that could give Twitter a run for its money.

Facebook said this week that has introduced new formats on its Audience Network for third-party apps, including native video ads and Dynamic Product ads that advertise products consumers have previously seen. However, the bigger news for marketers could be reports that Facebook is testing a breaking news app.

?Breaking news is the bigger deal for marketers right now,? said Matt Rednor, CEO and founder of Decoded Advertising. ?Until the audience network gets bigger, it won't have that much impact.

?Breaking news gets Facebook into the real-time game which has been Twitter's biggest selling angle other than TV second screen,? he said. ?Marketers have been down on Twitter lately, but have been unable to find anything that truly rivals it for news and events so this could finally give marketers what they've been waiting for.?
Native advertising
Facebook?s mobile ad network audience network launched last year, providing publishers and developers ad units from among the social network?s 2 million advertisers.

Now it is taking two of its best-performing units on the Facebook News Feed and making them available off Facebook for the first time.

Native advertising continues to grow, with approximately five times more apps now offer native ads compared with six months ago, according to Facebook. Additionally, native ads represent over 80 percent of impressions in the Audience Network.

With this in mind, Facebook is giving publishers the ability to bring the video ads experience from Facebook onto their apps.

This move also addresses the growing consumption of video from mobile devices and marketers who are increasingly investing in creating video content for mobile users.

?Rolling out auto play video ads to third party apps is a big step in improving the experience of video ads,? said Shuli Lowy, marketing director of mobile at Ping Mobile. ?Mobile video ads, which generally have a high demand amongst advertisers, often require a click of a play button to start. 

?Switching that to a dynamic auto play experience makes the ad more alluring in the pre-click phase,? she said. ?That means that more people are likely to end up watching the full video. 

?Introducing that to third party apps will work towards making video autoplay ads a more commonplace standard.?

Full-screen interstitials
Facebook is also enabling publishers already using full-screen interstitials from audience network to begin delivering additional formats, including the popular Carousel Ad, which enables advertisers to showcase up to five images within a single ad unit that viewers can easily swipe through.

Dynamic Product ads will also be supported. These ads enable advertisers to create relevant and timely ads based on products consumers have visited on their app.

Additionally, click-to-play video experiences will also be available.

Another way that Facebook could grab a bigger portion of marketers? advertising budgets is with a stand-alone mobile news application, which it is reportedly working on.

Real-time relevancy
By delivering breaking news in real-time, Facebook could steal some of Twitter?s thunder and provide another reason for consumers to spend time with Facebook properties. The social network has been exploring ways to boost its real-time relevancy, which has proven to be one of Twitter?s most attractive attributes with marketers.

Buying advertising alongside news is something marketers are comfortable with and given Facebook?s significant ability to promote such an app to its user base, the news app could quickly become popular with advertisers.

The app will enable users to choose publications that they want to follow as well as the subjects they are interested in. When breaking news occurs, the app would send out a mobile notification to interested users. Users can then click on a link in the notification to be brought to the originating publication?s site.

?While the launch of a news app could have important implications for news providers, its impact for marketers does not require immediate attention,? Ms. Lowy said. ?The value proposition of the app hasn't clearly been defined yet and it?s social following is currently non-existent. 

?New apps launch all the time; we can?t drop everything every time that happens,? she said. ?If the app launches and proves it?s value to consumers then marketers will start paying attention to it. 

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York