The Facebook Audience Network, in test mode for some time, will allow app developers to deliver targeted ads based on Facebook (FB +2.5%) data and activity. Banner ads, interstitials, and native ads are supported.
Facebook is counting on its data and developer reach to grab a larger chunk of a mobile ad market expected by eMarketer to grow 75% this year, and to stand out relative to rival networks from Google, Apple, Twitter, and Millennial Media, among others.
The network was launched Facebook's f8 developer conference, during which Mark Zuckerberg has declared his company's motto has changed from "move fast and break things" to the less catchy "move fast with stable infrastructure." To back up the change, Zuck promises Facebook will now fix any bugs in newly-released code with 48 hours.
Facebook, aided by its Parse unit, has also used f8 to: 1) Update its login solution for 3rd-party apps to allow anoynmous logins, and to give users more control over what info they share. 2) Launch AppLinks.org, a solution for linking between installed apps.
In a Wired interview, Zuck highlights Facebook's interest in acting as a knowledge source for users, rather than just a sharing source - 5-10% of Facebook posts are questions to friends - and reiterates his interest in having Facebook's various developer services act as a cross-platform infrastructure for apps. "Right now, you have these different mobile silos ... But when someone buys a phone, they don’t want to be limited to just the apps and experiences on that phone."
Shares are up on a day when Twitter is getting clobbered post-earnings.