Facebook poised to take on Google with header bidding tech as it expands its Audience Network

Facebook poised to take on Google with header bidding tech as it expands its Audience Network

Facebook is thought to be expanding its Audience Network, which serves ads on sites and apps on third party websites and apps, as it also looks to cash in on the hot programmatic trend of using header bidding technology.

The social giant’s wants to sell more ads via its mobile ad network and diversify beyond the gaming and utility apps that “dominate” its client base, according to a report from the Information, which also claims that it has set its sights on netting deals with publishers like USA Today and Hearst.

Facebook’s Audience Network is also said to be toying with header bidding; a relatively new programmatic technique used by publishers to increase advertising yield on their inventory.

The tech allows publishers to insert codes into their page header which can make an impression available simultaneously to multiple demand sources, such as ad exchanges, before their primary ad server is called. Once the highest bid is selected, it is then sent to the ad server, and the chosen creative is displayed.

Facebook is thought to be testing header bidding across mobile and video ads – a move which could present a significant challenge to the grip Google DoubleClick has on the online display market by letting Google’s rivals skip ahead to claim ad slots.

"Google is frankly very defensive because their position is being threatened. If you now amplify that by Facebook saying, 'Hey, wait a second, look, there's a chink in the armor,” a source familiar with Facebook’s plans told AdAge.

“All these independent companies have found it, why don't we do the same thing and bring our wallet to bear?' We're actually going to start to see an event that could at a very, very substantial level check the Google monopoly."

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. She primarily writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

All by Rebecca