Amid reports that Facebook will disappear in 5-8 years due to lack of a mobile user policy, Facebook went a step ahead in its endeavour to tap into the revenue its 425 million user base can generate, by launching the mobile-only ads. This has dual advantages- it appeases the investors and broadens its appeal to advertisers.
Facebook officially started allowing advertisers to craft ads specifically designed for the mobile version of Facebook. it also allows advertisers to direct ads into user’s news feeds, steps which till now restricted the marketers’ presence on certain areas. According to a statement by Facebook;
Today, Facebook announced that marketers will have the opportunity to buy sponsored stories in News Feed separately from other placements through the API and Power Editor. Now, marketers can choose which placement (independent of any right-hand side buy) they would like whether it be in News Feed on desktop, News Feed on mobile, both, or in combination with the right-hand side.
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.
Previously advertisers could buy a large category of sponsored stories, but it was upto Facebook to enable those stories on mobile devices. Facebook’s lack of a strategy in mobile areas wiped out close to $32 billion of its over $100 billion value at the IPO. An analyst quoted:
It is a major drawback to Facebook that they have been unable to monetize the mobile activity of its user base.
Facebook now has to strike a balance between keeping its advertisers and user base happy, while at the same time fend off competition from Google Plus in the social networking arena. However, Facebook needs to strike a delicate balance so as not to offend its mobile users with troublesome ads, as they are unused to seeing ads displayed on their small screens.
Facebook spokeswoman Annie Ta specified that there will a cap on the number of ads being displayed on the mobile screens, although she did not specify what this cap would be. This change was made to make the advertisers happy, she added.
We want to make it easier for advertisers to get the distribution they want.
Bigger companies will be evaluating the performance of these ads and buying them on as-per-need basis. According to Debra Williamson,
There’s been a general acknowledgement by marketers that last year they spent a lot of money acquiring ‘likes’ and now they want to know what to do with them.
Facebook has given advertisers more control over its “reach generator” feature, which earlier did not allow advertisers to amplify posts they wanted to amplify. Facebook made this feature a self-service one, rather than leave advertisers at the mercy of Facebook sales representatives. This was a welcome move, according to Jim Tobin, president of Ignite Social Media.
This is really helpful because it’s so a la carte. Even for big advertisers who may be spending a few hundred thousand dollars on social, you have the flexibility to take a single post and amplify it. That’s good for Facebook, because a lot of $5 and $10 promotions from tens and thousands of advertisers adds up to real income.