Facebook Audience Networks: The Good and the Bad

"picture of person holding phone with network on it to indicate that they are using Facebook Audience Network"

Facebook audience networks enable you to show ads on premium publishers via mobile apps and websites. You can use the same creative to reach audiences across a variety of publishers to engage target audiences across the web. These ads can be placed in a variety of formats depending on the objectives of your business. It’s a great way for brands to get as much inventory outside of the Facebook ecosystem while taking advantage of the granular targeting capabilities and premium ad space. However, brands should first analyze whether the benefits of audience networks outweigh the costs. This will depend largely on the own objectives. Here’s a breakdown of what we see as the pros and cons of FAN (Facebook audience networks).

The Good:

  • You can expand your reach far beyond Facebook. Advertising on Facebook’s audience network can reach up to 16% percent more people than on Facebook alone.
  • Facebook yields an average of 6-10% more ad impressions per campaign.
  • The platform is generally easier to use when you’re building ads because you can use the creative you already have. Facebook will render the size to fit each placement type you want to use.
  • Different types of ad placements include native, banner, interstitial, rewarded video on mobile devices, in-stream video on desktop and CTV (CTV is not yet available to all advertisers).
  • Facebook audience networks show: Brand awareness, reach, traffic, engagement, app installs, video views, conversions, and product catalog sales. Ex:

  • Facebook audience networks have a reach of approximately 1 billion users.
  • It’s very affordable way to build reach against specific audiences (lower CPM, CPCs, CPLs) if executed properly. For example, after implementing Facebook Audience Network, Katana found that the average CPA dropped around 26% from December to January for one of our clients. The conversions increased from 123 in November to 444 January.

The Bad:

  • The quality of the publisher sites could be low in its content and lack of Google indexing. This attracts fraudulent activity like bot clicks and impression. This can cause campaigns to experience lower performance metrics like CTR and CVR.
  • Facebook Audience Network does not show offline conversions (i.e. store visits) and lead generation.
  • Advertisers have less control over how their ad is displayed—Facebook determines this. There is some control, like the ability to make block lists or category exclusions, but there is no guarantee your content won’t show up alongside content that does not align with your business.

Whether you opt into Facebook’s Audience networks depends on what your objectives are: If you are looking to expand your reach far beyond Facebook, this is a great feature to capitalize on. However, we wouldn’t recommend this for brand awareness campaigns. Audience networks is a feature that is beneficial for CRO (conversion rate optimization) because it optimizes towards a purchase by remaining salient in the user’s mind outside of Facebook. For brands who want to get their name out there, Facebook is the resource to accomplish successful brand awareness.

Also published on Medium.