The VP of Facebook’s Ads and Business Platform, Andrew Bosworth, has taken to the social network’s blog to announce an expansion of the Facebook Audience Network – the service used by advertisers to extend their Facebook advertising campaigns to other sites.

Since launching in 2014, Facebook Audience Network adverts have been delivered to Facebook users only on third party sites – but that’s about to change. Bosworth said: “we’re expanding Audience Network so publishers and developers can show better ads to everyone – including those who don’t use or aren’t connected to Facebook.”

A follow up blog entry posted the day after Bosworth’s announcement confirmed that Facebook Audience Network will soon start delivering adverts to people browsing external sites, irrespective of whether or not they use Facebook. Personalisation of ads for non-Facebook users will be based on data from third party sources.

There’s news for ordinary Facebook users too: they’ll now be able to turn off Facebook Audience Network Ads via the ‘Facebook Ads’ section of their profile settings.

In his blog entry of May 26th, Bosworth stated Facebook’s commitment to providing “a better online experience for everyone”, with fewer annoying, distracting or misleading adverts. For better or for worse, they’re now set to take an even greater share of the responsibility for the state of online advertising.

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Action it!

The extension of Facebook Audience Network ad service to people who don’t have a Facebook account will provide some real food for thought amongst the social network’s advertising clients.

They’ll first need to consider who is using the internet but not Facebook – what are the key demographics amongst this new group and how likely are they to pay for your products or services? Can you tailor an optimised message for this segment?

As of April 2015, 28% of internet users in the United States still didn’t have a Facebook account. There’s massive potential in that extra-social market, for those who can pinpoint it.

The Audience Network Update also offers the opportunity to critique the efficacy of Facebook’s ad targeting. Will ads served to Facebook users outperform those served to non-users, or vice versa? The outcome can serve to inform your future ad spending decisions. Imagine if Facebook’s update ultimately discredit their own ad targeting! They must be feeling confident…

One of the drawbacks of Facebook Audience Network was the incompleteness of its audience – it missed out a big chunk of the market where rival advertising networks could claim to more comprehensively target the online population. Those rivals will now have to find a different line of attack.

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