The speculation is that Facebook will be launching a mobile ad network sometime in 2012 (Facebook Is Said to Ready First Foray Into Mobile Ads Next Year – from Bloomberg) and if I was in this business I’d be a little frightened.
Facebook has a fenced mobile community of more that 350 million people that interact within these walls almost daily. Facebook understands their user’s habits, rituals, likes, dislikes, sex, age, location, friends, influences and patterns more than any other social network. Actually, probably more than any other network of any kind at any time, ever.
An advertisers dream
Facebook plus mobile means highly targeted, tailored ads to the right audience at the right time in the right place. It means spending on directed ads that require a little effort to make effective which also means not spending on broad “awareness” ads to people who don’t care and won’t click through.
A match made in heaven
The best fit for something like this are the daily deal/discovery companies like Foursquare and Groupon. These companies are best suited to benefit from advertising on a Facebook network especially if Facebook is willing to allow such honed targeting as they are capable of doing. Could this be the saviour for these companies? I don’t think so but it will stave of their eventual, er, transition into another line of business.
While it will be very easy for Facebook to simply walk into this space, throw up targeted ads on their widely distributed mobile applications, turn on the meter and call it a day, my hope is they look to reinvent.
Mobile ad display is not the future of this industry and it may be a company with the clout of Facebook to significantly change this. The concept of “advertising” in the mobile world needs to change and move away from a broad and scattered approach.
Google changed online advertising and that model will not work long-term in mobile. Someone needs to step in and build the future of this business and who better to do so than Facebook.