Facebook recently announced they are shutting down their web and in-stream placements on Facebook’s Audience Network (FAN). On this digital platform, advertisers can serve their ads to users who are using mobile sites and apps outside of their social media platforms. This platform uses the same targeting data as they use it on their Facebook app. FAN was launched in 2014, offering advertisers placement on third-party apps only and made an expansion in 2016 into mobile sites. The move helped web publishers make more money, and they’ve paid out more than $1.5 billion in 2018 to publishers since.
Facebook decided to shut down its mobile web and in-stream placements because they want to focus their resources on mobile apps exclusively. A statement from them says:
We’ve made this decision based on where we see growing demand from our partners, which is in other formats across mobile apps.
This update is additionally said to be a response to recent changes from Google and Apple, to limit tracking with third-party cookies in the mobile web environment in the middle of growing concerns regarding privacy and brand safety issues. The move is likely to affect Facebook’s Audience Network negatively and presents a more prominent challenge for Facebook to survive in web advertising. Also, global privacy regulations require businesses to be transparent about the usage of user data, and Facebook has been reluctant in this regard ever since.
Starting April 11, 2020, FAN will no longer fill any ad requests for web and in-stream placements. This means publishers will no longer see demands from FAN for these two products. There will be an expected decrease in the number of bid responses and competition on every publisher’s inventory.
Facebook has given publishers a heads up that performance may fluctuate during this deprecation period as most advertisers are probably going to turn off their setups to target web users on publisher’s sites via FAN.
How publishers can proceed
You don’t need not wait for these changes to take place before you react. Here’s what you can do:
#1 – Get in touch with other demand partners
One source of demand down means an expected decrease in bid responses and competition in your ad inventory. You need to look for other demand partners as soon as possible to fill the gap.
#2 – Remove Facebook Audience from waterfall integration
Since FAN will no longer respond to bid requests, it’s better to remove them from the publishers’ setup or bidding integration.
#3 – To reduce latency, publishers need to remove Audience Network web and in-stream placements from their client or server-side bidding setups.
#4 – Publishers should also update their ads.txt
According to Facebook, they will keep the data on their system for six months after April 11, 2020. Publishers will still be able to access the Monetization Manager and reports as long as they have an active account. Final payments will be sent following the regular schedule, which is on the twenty-second (22nd) of the month.
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