Facebook’s Audience Network – What eCommerce Marketers Need To Know


You’re familiar with the ads sprinkled in your Facebook and Instagram newsfeeds and occasionally in your Messenger app too. But did you know that Facebook has another platform for you to advertise on? Future proof and diverse, the Facebook Audience Network gives eCommerce an exciting opportunity to reach potential customers outside of the social media bubble.


So what is it? Well it could be argued that it is Zuckerberg’s long-game, placing ads on OTHER apps and websites.


For eCommerce advertisers, this means more exposure and potentially lower costs, for users, it means that the kind of ads they see on Facebook (such as Dynamic Product Ads) follow them around the web.


The same targeting and demographic options are available on the audience network, but there are limitations on the use of the network.


Facebook is slowly rolling out more features for the networks but as of Q4 2017, the network supports the following objectives;

  • Brand awareness (video only)
  • Reach (video only)
  • Traffic
  • Engagement (video only)
  • App installs
  • Video views (video only)
  • Conversions
  • Product catalog sales (this is PERFECT for eCommerce)

What happens after the user clicks on the ad, is dependent on the ad objective chosen. The current options are;

  • Link click to new browser window
  • Prompt to install app
  • Launch existing app on the user’s mobile device

40% of the top 500 apps are integrated with the audience audience but here’s the juicy stat.


Advertisers see an average increase in website conversions of 12% when using Facebook and Audience Networking advertising combined.


We thought that might grab your attention!


So what options are available?


Well Facebook have quite handily supplied this example;

So how does it compete with Google’s Display Network?


There are similarities and at this point in time, it’s pretty clear to see that Google is still the bigger fish in the pond.


But this shouldn’t matter to you, the advertiser, because the offerings while similar to the user are very different behind the scenes. Because it’s the targeting options and cost that matter, the Audience Network is still cheaper (though prices are slowly increasing) but the targeting options on Facebook far outstrip anything the Google can supply.


Huge chunks of the population live their lives on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, meaning the data collected will always be stronger than that collected through Google’s use of cookies.


Are there any downsides?


Two actually, both of which can prove burdensome for some brands.


Firstly, the Facebook Audience Network doesn’t offer you any visibility of the exact content that your ads are going to be shown with. For some brands, especially those with sensitivities, this could be a game stopper. For example, Durex advertising within a religious app, may not be the best for brand image. This isn’t just a Facebook problem, YouTube has had the same issues with brands pulling their spend from the platform due to being placed with content that they deem to be unacceptable.


There are exclusions that you can put in place, as seen in the below image, but the system isn’t perfect, so if your brand has concerns, it may be best to be on the safeside and not use the Audience Network for the time being.

Facebook Targeting exclusions

Secondly, there is no frequency cap on the network, meaning you can oversaturate, annoy users and overspend all in one go. For the Newsfeed, Facebook has a built-in frequency cap of two or four impressions per day, depending on whether the user Likes the brands page or not.


This is a solvable issue, you just have to monitor the ads frequency on your analytics dashboard, but it is an easy one to slip the mind, so make sure to keep a note.


How can you crush it with the Audience Network?

  1. Always use the Audience Network in a separate Ad Set. This is just good housekeeping, but will allow you to quickly understand how the ads are performing and allow you to increase/decrease the budget as required. It also allows you to…
  2. Watch that frequency, don’t get caught out. It really can have a negative impact on your brand’s perception and cost you money at the same time.
  3. Never use the Audience Network if your landing page or website are not Mobile Friendly, it would be like pouring money down the drain. It’s a fully mobile audience so a non-responsive page would not convert well.
  4. Targeting a super specific niche? Use the Audience Network as it will help you reach that small audience even when they aren’t on Facebook or Instagram.

The Audience Network is still growing and still evolving but it offers an exciting way to reach your customers across platforms, which for some brands can offer amazing results for both brand awareness and sales.

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