As Facebook Audience Network Becomes $1 Billion Biz, LiveRail Refocuses On Private Marketplaces
LiveRail ad serving will shut down to put the focus squarely on building the private marketplace and mediation business.
Facebook released new stats on the performance of the Facebook Audience Network (FAN) and a narrower focus for the company’s LiveRail business in a blog post on Thursday.
FAN is the in-app advertising network that Facebook launched globally in October 2014 to give advertisers access to in-app inventory while harnessing Facebook’s data and targeting capabilities. The company says the number of apps that have joined FAN increased ten-fold from a year ago, and it’s now a $1 billion dollar business.
“In Q4 we reached a $1B annual run rate for advertising spend through the Audience Network, with the bulk of that value being passed to publishers, and the remainder being recorded as net revenue for Facebook,” Alvin Bowles, Facebook head of global publisher sales and operations announced in the post. “With Audience Network, we will continue to introduce new ways for publishers to take advantage of everything that makes Facebook ads valuable to our partners: high-quality demand, people-based marketing, measurement and our ads delivery engine.”
Closing LiveRail Ad Server Business
With the success of FAN, Facebook says it will shut down LiveRail’s ad server business. Instead, ongoing LiveRail efforts will focus on facilitating private marketplaces and providing mediation services — primarily for native and video ads on mobile.
“We believe native and video are key ad formats and that programmatic platforms are the best way through which to deliver them. LiveRail already powers about 75 programmatic private marketplaces for some of the world’s largest publishers, including Hulu and A+E Networks,”
Facebook bought LiveRail, a video ad network with ad serving capabilities, in 2014. Last year, Facebook added native, video and other mobile formats available on FAN to the LiveRail exchange. The ad serving piece of the business has never been a big focus. The company says it will help transition current LiveRail ad server customers either to other products in its own suite or to ad servers outside of Facebook in the coming months.
“We are excited to see Facebook double down on LiveRail’s platform of media automation and data informed targeting as it is an important part of every branded publishers success in the future,” said Peter Naylor, SVP of advertising sales at Hulu in a statement. Hulu set up a private exchange with LiveRail in August of last year. Private exchanges/marketplaces let publishers sell ad inventory programmatically to a controlled, invite-only set of buyers. While not as big as the open exchange market, private marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular.