Facebook Audience Network is a big deal, especially if you are Google!
Facebook cleared over 5.5 billion in ad revenue last quarter by capitalizing on injecting targeted ads into the Facebook feeds of millions. Effectively blurring the reality between social networking with friends and interacting with sponsors vying for your attention all in the same feed; Facebook continues to "kill it" by delivering very attractive demand driven options to advertisers and the ability to target with laser precision.
With the majority of Facebook's install base mobile mobile and mobile; the limiting factor was clearly the number of ads that can be jammed into the Facebook app without eroding the experience where there are more advertisements than social content.
Like a sugared up kid that has been in the car too long, Facebook needed to break out of the mold fast and expand beyond the Facebook app onto other apps and mobile websites. Through a grass roots effort, Facebook engineers successfully did just that (fueled by sugar and caffeine no doubt) and launched FAN (Facebook Audience Network) in late 2014.
Today, it accounts for a significant slice of Facebook's ad inventory, has significantly increased their reach, and has more than peaked the interest of Google, who's Google Display Network at four times the size, remains king. With an ever increasing diversification of product and network, it may soon become a Google and Facebook world; where at present, they have played in somewhat different sandboxes. Since Facebook's launch of FAN, and it's apparent increasing success; Google now has serious competition and Facebook maintains a strategic long term edge as FAN is now the largest "native" ad network as mobile continues to grow and authors seek more control over the look and feel of the advertising.
So, buckle you seat belts as it's sure to heat up between Facebook and Google in the near term as they begin to compete more directly. Don't take your eye off of FAN; It's a big deal!