Earlier this month, Facebook introduced a mobile-only advertising option. Although not much time has passed, it appears that the social network’s mobile ads are already outperforming its desktop ads.
As of June 5th, you were given the option of controlling where your Sponsored Stories were placed on Facebook, including both desktop and mobile, all desktop placements, News Feed, News Feed desktop, and News Feed mobile.
Social Code, a Facebook Ads API partner, began analyzing data almost right away. It selected 7 million impressions served between June 8th and June 18th, of which 242,000 were shown on mobile devices.
The company found that ads appearing in mobile News Feeds get more clicks and Likes than those that appear in desktop News Feeds. However, it’s hard to say which of those were intentional — because of the smaller screen size, accidental clicks are more common.
Facebook’s mobile click-through rate averaged 0.79 percent, compared to 0.327 percent for desktop ads. A separate study performed by TBG Digital found an even higher mobile click-through rate at 1.14 percent. The number of Likes each 1,000 mobile impressions generated was also higher on mobile, averaging 0.62 percent, compared to 0.219 percent on desktop.
Because of the high click-through rates, the social network was able to generate 2.5 times more revenue from mobile ads, which pulled in roughly $7.51 per thousand impressions, than desktop News Feed ads, which came in at $2.98.
It’s still very early to make a fair ruling on the success of Facebook’s mobile-only option. A study from Pretarget and comScore argues that click-through rates aren’t even the right metric to be looking at. The bigger question is whether Facebook can balance the frequency right so that enough ads are delivered to increase revenue without cluttering up mobile News Feeds and turning off its user base.