Digital Transformation

Facebook Audience Network EMEA lead wants to promote ‘transparency and fairness’ as off-site ad tech reaches one billion eyeballs per month

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By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

January 12, 2017 | 6 min read

One of the top brass at Facebook’s third-party ad tech network has said the social giant wants to promote “transparency and fairness in the ecosystem,” revealing that the service now reaches an average of one billion people each month.

Yoav Arnstein, who is head of sales for Facebook Audience Network (FAN) in the EMEA region told The Drum that the company is committed to showing publishers that they are the “central and core value on which FAN is built".

The comments come as the platform unveils figures growth figures for the off-site ad tech offering which has recently inked deals with global publishers and apps like the Washington Post, the Daily Mirror and Korean gaming firm BitMango.

facebook audience network

Facebook Audience Network EMEA sales lead wants to promote ‘transparency and fairness’ as off-site ad tech reaches one billion e

In May 2016 Facebook introduced video to the service, and said the number of publishers choosing the network to monetise their inventory had grown by 620% year-on-year.

It now says fresh data shows that FAN advertisers can reach on average 16% more people than they would by advertising on Facebook or Instagram alone. However, in terms of its overall visibility the social network still has some catching up to do before it comes close to the audiences of Google's Display Network which spans two million websites and reaches over 90% of people online according to the Alphabet-owned firm.

In terms of campaign effectiveness, Facebook says that its advertisers see a 12% increase in conversions for web campaigns and a 17% increase in installs for mobile app campaigns.

An ongoing effort

However, FAN is poised to mark its third birthday this year and has been taking steps to avoid growing pains. Last January, the social network kicked off a beta test with mobile web publishers to enforce higher quality standards. Facebook says it has removed and is continuing to remove publishers who don’t meet its exacting quality.

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In November, Facebook updated its policies to re-iterate its stance against letting publishers in the business of circulating fake news use the ad network. “While implied, we have updated the policy to explicitly clarify that this applies to fake news," a company spokesperson said, "our team will continue to closely vet all prospective publishers and monitor existing ones to ensure compliance."

Recent months have seen Facebook face heavy criticism for allowing fake news to circulate on its own site, and while the platform is taking steps to crackdown on the spread of misinformation within its walls Arnstein says that overall the company wants to "promote transparency and fairness in the ecosystem".

He described the social network's dedication to brand safety as an "ongoing effort" adding that inventory which violates its community standards or isn't transparent is not the type of inventory Facebook wants to be associated with.

He added that in same cases FAN declines to approve inventory which falls in line with policies but provides a poor user experience because of its need to put quality front and centre and drive value for advertisers.

Joint desire

When pressed on how Facebook's new head of news partnerships Campbell Brown will work with the FAN Arnstein remains tight lipped, but he is keen to touch on the value Facebook places in its publishing partners.

"News publishers, broadcasters and overall premium content producers are really essential to the overall vision of Facebook. People come to Facebook looking to connect with friends and family but they also come to Facebook to be informed and entertained," he observed, saying that publishers were key both to deliver against a "joint desire" of their audiences.

His comments come just as Facebook has softened its stance on its categorisation as a media company. The firm's role has come into question countless times as experts debate whether its control of its data wellspring is a form of editorial control. However, Zuckerberg recently told chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg in an annual company summary that the business was a "a new kind platform."

"It’s not a traditional technology company. It’s not a traditional media company. You know, we build technology and we feel responsible for how it’s used," he admitted.

As for FAN, the next year will see it continue to build tools to help marketers, with Arnstein saying good relationships with publishers will be key to its progress. "We appreciate the level of talent and knowledge that exists outwith our business so we will be looking to continue to harvest that internally," he said.

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