Facebook’s targeted ads coming to other third-party apps

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You know those eerily personal ads that you see on Facebook, the ones that seem to know your likes and dislikes better than your closest friends do? Well get used to them, because not only are they here to stay—they’re branching out.

Facebook announced yesterday that it is running a small test with a limited number of advertisers and partners to explore showing its Facebook advertisements in third-party mobile apps. It’s essentially building its own ad network…

From Facebook’s developer blog:

“We are running a small test to explore showing Facebook ads in third-party mobile apps. In this test, we’ll be extending Facebook’s rich targeting to improve the relevancy of the ads people see, provide even greater reach for Facebook advertisers, and help developers better monetize their apps.

While we have run similar tests in the past, this current test is more like a mobile ad network in that we are working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers, rather than an outside ad-serving platform.

This test is currently limited to a few advertisers and partners. We are not currently accepting additional participants, but if you are interested in receiving future updates on the status of this test, please let us know.”

If you think about it, a Facebook-run ad network makes perfect sense. Not only does it know details about its users like where they live and work, and what kind of stuff they’re into, but it has an enormous reach, with more than a billion users.

Since Facebook went public in 2012, people have been wondering what the social network’s next big move is going to be. It tried its hand at OS shells, but that didn’t really work out. I think this—a behavioral ad network—could be its true calling.