Facebook will shut down Facebook Audience Network’s mobile web arm
Digiday, February 5, 2020 – Facebook is planning to shut down the mobile web arm of its Audience Network starting on April 11, the company confirmed on Wednesday.
The exact rationale for the move is unclear, but sources said the decision was likely fueled by browser companies’ recent changes to throttle cookies in the mobile web environment, plus the internal resources required to keep on top of potential negative impacts from new data regulations and brand safety issues.
“We make business decisions based on where we see growing demand from our partners, and that’s in other formats across mobile apps,” said a Facebook spokesman. “We’re focusing our resources there moving forward.”
Facebook launched its Audience Network in 2014, offering advertisers a way to extend their Facebook ad campaigns to a network of third-party apps. In 2016 Facebook expanded the network to include mobile websites. Its clients include big app developers including TikTok, Tinder, Activision and Pandora.
The company has not recently disclosed separate financial figures for its Audience Network, but its revenue appears to be in the multibillions of dollars. Based on available estimates and sources, the revenue for the Audience Network for the mobile web likely represents only a very small slice of Facebook’s overall $70.7 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended on Dec. 31 2019.
Facebook’s Audience Network paid more than $1.5 billion to publishers and developers in 2018, according to the Audience Network by Facebook website. In 2015’s fourth quarter, when it was just catering to mobile apps, Audience Network had a “$1B revenue run rate in ad spend,” Facebook said, but it hasn’t provided an updated figure since. Anthony DiClemente, a former Nomura analyst, estimated that Audience Network would add $2 billion to Facebook’s revenue in 2016.
The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority estimated that from from July 2018 and June 2019, Facebook’s Audience Network had a 5% to 15% share of the U.K. supply side platform market behind Google’s AdMob (with 10% to 20%) and Google’s AdX (25% to 35%).