Facebook and Google + Expand their Mobile Offering
This has been a big week in the world of mobile advertising as both Facebook and Google announced seamless integration of mobile ad buying across their various ad buying platforms. Purchasing of mobile placements for either platform should now be as easy and automated as display and search buying capabilities. There is a clear opportunity in mobile as it’s been reported US consumers spend as much as 23% of their time surfing the mobile web though mobile advertising only accounted for 1% of 2011 ad spend. Facebook’s declining stock price, partially due to the fact its ability to sell ads via mobile is unproven, is no doubt an additional catalyst for both companies to enhance buying methods for advertisers. Details
Facebook launched mobile ad opportunities for the first time in March 2012 however, since they were packaged with Premium units, only major advertisers were able to take advantage of the new placements. Now sponsored-story placements can be purchased for mobile via the Facebook Power Editor tool and via third-party ad API sellers, which have been previously estimated to drive 60% of Facebook’s revenue (eMarketer). This means advertisers with any size budget will be able to easily purchase mobile-only placements.
Similarly, Google is finally connecting 1 million AdWords advertisers with its AdMob network of 350 million mobile devices, nearly two years after its acquisition. Advertisers are able to buy ads across AdMob’s 300K apps separately or through bundled desktop campaigns. This makes it much easier for advertisers to invest within mobile as the campaign management will be integrated with search and display. Demand is expected to drastically increase as AdMob reported nearly 1 billion ad requests in May alone. Targeting capabilities are also enhanced as advertisers can now reach users by specifying device, manufacturer, mobile operating system, carrier or whether they are surfing the web via wifi. Implications
Integration of mobile purchasing with other ad buying methods like desktop display and search will undoubtedly drive increased investment among advertisers. However, the real test will be whether Facebook can drive strong performance of mobile placements along with their desktop offering. In addition, Facebook is the underdog in mobile. Even before their AdWords integration, eMarketer reported Google accounted for the majority of mobile ad revenue in the US at 51.7% with Apple’s iAd network and Millennial Media as the only other major players. The strength of each player in the market is only expected to increase as performance is proven. While the heat is clearly on for Facebook, the odds are arguably in their favor given over 50% of their user base access the service via mobile. Summary
With global mobile subscriptions predicted to reach 7 billion by 2012, more than the total world population, the industry will see more aggressive advertising opportunities in the months to come. While both Google and Facebook drove much noise this week, they will not be the only players to watch in the months ahead: Twitter recently announced its mobile ad revenues top its desktop revenues on certain weeks. Could it be that 2012 is finally the year of the mobile? Author, Lindsay Lichtenberg