Facebook today began testing brand new ads on your smartphone, but surprisingly not inside the Facebook app itself. You might find them inside external apps and even mobile websites you've connected to Facebook, TechCrunch reports. The new ads will be catered to you based on your age, gender, where you live, and what you're interested in — just like ads on the Facebook website.
Back in June, Facebook began surfacing Sponsored Stories alongside games on Zynga's website, a seemingly obvious sign of a looming external ad network to compete with Google, which shows ads inside apps like Gmail but also on other websites. While Facebook and Zynga operated on a profit-sharing agreement, the company's new ads operate inside of an ad exchange where advertisers bid on specific demographics without having any access to information about you. The best part for Facebook is that none of these ads clutter up its own app. So is this the golden egg Facebook shareholders are looking for? If the new ad network provides more accurate targeting than competitors, it could prove to be a lucrative new revenue stream for the social network, which has hitherto struggled to monetize its mobile efforts.