Facebook to Launch Mobile Ads

Facebook announced plans this week to launch ads in its mobile apps, a first since its entrance into the mobile space. According to a Financial Times report, these mobile ads on Facebook will be launched in March, two months before many say Facebook will release its IPO.

Facebook has struggled to find a way to make its mobile apps profitable, opting out of banner ads like it has for its desktop platform. It has been said that Facebook is working with several advertising agencies for the launch in March. In my opinion, this signals to me that it’s working with brands which already advertise on its desktop platform. It’s likely that the ads on Facebook apps will be similar to the current Facebook ads and sponsored stories users see when the log in to Facebook on their computers. Given Facebook’s desire for a clean interface and user-friendly experience, I highly doubt we’ll see any banner ads offered, or even any exciting rich media ads. It’s likely that the ads will be similar to what we see with Promoted Tweets on Twitter, where the ads would simply show up in users’ newsfeeds.

The move to me makes perfect sense, as it’s likely most of Facebook’s visits will come from mobile devices in the near future. I’m hoping it also means Facebook will be more responsive to the problems on its mobile apps. I’m sure all of you have noticed the apps are extremely buggy and crash all the time, no matter how many “updates” they release. Profits coming in from mobile ads may force Facebook to ensure better app stability for better ad performance (users can’t tap on ads if the app crashes all the time!).

What brands should we expect to see testing this out? I would say any P&G product, definitely autos, and likely entertainment or political campaigns.

We can’t say we didn’t see it coming!

-Bryan Nagy