First things first – what is Audience Network? According to Facebook, “Audience Network lets you extend your ad campaigns beyond Facebook to reach your audiences on mobile apps, mobile websites, Instant Articles, and videos.” Put simply; it’s a display ad network run by Facebook offering additional ad placement on mobile websites and apps that have opted into the network. Should you be taking advantage of this feature? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
The Audience Network gives advertisers the ability to seriously amplify their reach. Instead of being confined to the social network, they can extend their reach far beyond Facebook users to third party sites and apps. Facebook says that on average, advertisers opting into the Audience Network can reach up to 16% more people than they could by advertising on Facebook and Instagram alone.
The Cost Per Click on the Audience Network is often lower than Newsfeed placements, so if your ad is performing well, the conversions can be very cost effective. Additionally, 80% of Audience Network impressions are now native, which makes it a great platform to reach your audience in a way that isn’t as salesy as traditional banner advertising.
Advertising on Facebook's Audience Network can reach up to 16% more people than on Facebook alone. Click To Tweet
One of the major drawbacks to the Audience Network is the lack of control it gives advertisers. When you run an ad within Facebook, you know exactly where it will display within the networking platform. When you run an ad on the Audience Network, you don’t have much control over where or how the ad is displayed. Turning on Audience Network is essentially just a check box – Facebook determines where your ad is shown. And while you can access performance data, you won’t ever know exactly where those ads were placed or what content they showed up next to. While you can include block lists and exclude placement on certain apps and websites, you still don’t have control over display.
Another common complaint is that although it can be an effective driver of website traffic, it’s not always good traffic. It doesn’t matter if hundreds of users are clicking on your ad if all of them are bouncing off the page and spending no time on the site. This could be caused by a number reasons, the biggest being that poor exit button placements lead to accidental clicks. But there is good news! Facebook just announced they would no longer count or charge clicks from users who bounce back to the previous page within two seconds of clicking on the ad.
So…should you be advertising on the Audience Network? The only way to know for sure is to test it out and see if it works for you. With Facebook’s commitment to its Audience Network stronger than ever, at the very least it’s worth keeping an eye on.