One thing that sets Facebook apart from other social networks is that the company successfully integrated advertising into its platform without a mass exodus of members. While there have been complaints made about their relevancy and frequency, the social network’s ad platform has expanded beyond the website and onto mobile. And as the growth continues, so does the opportunity for advertisers.
This year alone, Facebook is expected to bring in three out of 10 dollars spent on mobile ads in the U.S. — according to eMarketer. The market research firm placed the social network at number two overall, directly behind Google, which will maintain the “lion’s share” of mobile ad spend. However, when it comes to mobile display ads, Facebook has already surpassed the search giant.
eMarketer reported that Facebook claimed 21 percent of the “pie” in 2012 while Google grabbed 17 percent. That’s quite an astonishing feat for the social network, which started 2012 without any mobile ad opportunities. A forecast for 2013 shows the social network maintaining its lead with 28 percent, followed by Google at 19 percent.
Helping that growth could be the company’s newest product, Facebook Home. Announced yesterday, Facebook Home is a new interface for Android phones that takes over the home and lock screen, providing a much deeper social integration between the two products. While Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remained pretty tight-lipped about advertising at the unveiling, he did say it’s coming.
The first version of Facebook Home — rolling out on April 12th — won’t feature any advertisements, but future iterations will. “We’re designing and working on a lot of really high-quality ad units in [news] feed already,” explained Adam Mosseri, Facebook product director. “We will bring those to Cover Feed and make sure they are aligned with the aesthetic and quality bar of everything else in Cover Feed.”
As Wired stated, displaying ads in Cover Feed gives Facebook an “unprecedented opportunity to aggressively push” advertising at consumers. Cover Feeds scroll through Facebook updates automatically. Because of this, a consumer could “pull a phone out of his pocket and immediately see an ad, before even unlocking the device.”
And let’s not forget about all of the data that Facebook will be privy to. While the company won’t be tracking locations, mountains of data regarding conversations and content shared through Home will go toward better targeting and sales of ads. That said, there’s still very little known about Facebook’s advertising future. The inclusion of ads on Home will certainly be a delicate process — one that we’ll be sure to keep you updated on.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.