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Facebook announces plans to dump Exchange ads straight in News Feed

Facebook has unveiled a new advertising plan that will allow more businesses to run their ads on the News Feed.

The plan is an extension of Facebook Exchange (FBX), a service introduced in autumn 2012 that lets advertisers serve up ads based on a Facebook user's browsing history. A "small alpha test" will allow these advertisers, for the first time, to place their ads in the News Feed as well as on the right-hand side of the page. All ads will include links to a company's website or product page.

FBX allows for time-sensitive ads based on pieces of code that track web activities, or cookies. So all those nights spent shopping online for shoes might prompt some footwear-focused ads on your News Feed.

"Allowing advertisers to reach people in News Feed is important because people spend more time in News Feed than any other part of Facebook," Facebook said in a blog post. "We also believe that ads delivered through FBX will create more relevant ads for people."

Facebook promised that FBX on the desktop News Feed will not change the number of ads people see in their feed.

To start, Facebook is working with a handful of demand-side platforms (DSPs) like TellApart, MediaMath, and Nanigans; the site will expand to more DSPs and advertisers in the coming weeks.

"We wanted to give advertisers and agencies the opportunity to deliver highly relevant ads in News Feed, the most engaging place on the web," Facebook said.

Facebook focused on desktop in its announcement, but the feature will likely roll out to mobile in the near future, too. During a January earnings call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said that in the fourth quarter 2012, 23 per cent of revenue from ads came from mobile.

On the mobile front, however, Facebook announced two new features for mobile app install ads: enhanced device targeting and an easier way to create ads.