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Facebook Strengthens Audience Network's Video Offering

Tim Maytom

Facebook Audience Network Mobile WebFacebook has announced two new video formats for its Audience Network advertising platform, expanding the options for marketers looking to advertise through its Instant Articles feature and also bringing the power of the Audience Network to desktop advertising for the first time, as it aims to strengthen its cross-channel offering.

Marketers will now be able to run video ads on mobile and desktop browsers as preroll, midroll or postroll within video content, instead of just as standalone ad units, and across the network of sites that are connected to Facebook's Audience Network.

Launched two years ago, the Audience Network is an ecosystem of apps and sites can be used by advertisers to extend the reach of their Facebook or Instagram campaigns. Altogether, the Audience Network accounts for six per cent of all time spend on mobile in the US.

In addition, advertisers can deploy video content within the company's Instant Article pages, either through Facebook's Audience Network or through direct deals with the publishers who have created the content.

Facebook is hoping the new formats will encourage marketers to deploy branding messages on mobile, rather than sales or direct response campaigns that are have traditionally been run on mobile and digital by firms who often take a conservative approach to new channels.

"Advertisers want their videos to reach more of the right people in more places," said a spokesperson for Facebook in a blog post announcing the new features. "That's why today we're extending the Audience Network to include videos from advertisers looking to drive brand outcomes. Now, in addition to watching these videos on Facebook and Instagram, people will view them in the other apps and sites where they spend their time."

The Audience Network was created by Facebook as a way of competing with Google's huge ecosystem of sites, and this increased investment, alongside the push for companies to make use of it for brand campaigns, shows that Facebook is not done attempting to the search giant on.