In Facebook’s IPO paperwork filed February 1, the social network indicated that mobile advertising was a potential revenue stream and that lack of ad revenue from mobile users could prove harmful. Even though concerns regarding the monetization of mobile users arose long before its May 18 IPO, Facebook’s current plummeting stock price reflects the continued challenges the company faces in drawing revenue from its 500 million users who regularly access the site on a mobile device.
As of Tuesday, Facebook will allow advertisers to use its self-serve platform to individually pay for “Sponsored Stories,” positive messages users have previously posted about their brand that will appear in a user’s News Feed. “Sponsored stories,” Facebook’s only mobile-ad product, were first made available in March to large advertisers who purchased premium ad packages. The new changes will allow advertisers with any size budget to bypass Facebook’s sales force and instead, use both the self-serve Facebook ad platform Power Editor and third party ad sellers in order to advertise to mobile Facebook users through “Sponsored Stories.” Simon Mansell, CEO of TBG, a Facebook ad company, commented, “It’s basically mobile ads for the masses. It now enables all the rest of the clients that maybe couldn’t afford previous levels to access mobile-ad inventory.”
In a Facebook statement released by Business Insider, the company reported:
“Facebook is always looking for ways to improve products and has responded to requests from marketers to control the placement of their sponsored stories. As companies are promoting services more frequently on mobile, this option gives them the opportunity to focus on specific placements that will impact them most directly.”
Time will tell whether or not “Sponsored Stories” mobile-ads will capture the attention of mobile users and result in increased conversions. Ultimately, Facebook will answer to its shareholders for how well it monetizes its growing population of mobile users.
As a Facebook advertiser, do the changes make you more likely to market your company through the mobile platform? As a Facebook mobile user, what are your thoughts about ads coming through your News Feed?