Facebook reportedly tinkering with its own mobile ad network

The social network is getting ready to launch a mobile ad platform that will allow it to better challenge Google's AdMob, Recode reports.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Facebook is about to step up its mobile ad game.

The social network will soon join the likes of Google and Apple with the launch of a mobile advertising network that leverages its database of user information to serve up better targeted ads, according to a Recode report. The social network will reportedly unveil the new network during its F8 developer conference later this month in San Francisco.

CNET has contacted Facebook for comment, but it's no secret that Facebook relies heavily on mobile advertising. During its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings report released in January -- the most recent results available -- the social-networking giant's mobile advertising revenue came in at $1.25 billion, more than half the company's total advertising revenue.

The new ad network would allow Facebook to generate revenue from its users even when they are not on Facebook properties, such as in-app ads. Such a move would be a direct challenge to Google's AdMob and Apple's iAd mobile advertising platforms.

World mobile ad sales totaled $17.9 billion last year, an increase of 105 percent over the previous year, according to research released in March by eMarketer. The market is expected to further expand another 75 percent this year to $31.45 billion.

Facebook has made a concentrated effort to eke out more dollars from the mobile market. And that effort appears to be paying off, according to eMarketer.

While Google still owns the biggest slice of that pie, grabbing 49.3 percent of mobile ad revenue last year, Facebook took home 17.5 percent, a significant jump from the 5.4 percent it commanded in 2012.