From high-profile, high-dollar mergers and acquisitions to alleged “controversies” over “fraudulent” advertising practices, the world’s most popular and perhaps most addicting social network continues to garner headlines and compel conversations in 2014.
According to recent reports, Facebook has also been busy preparing plans for something that will surely snare even more headlines:
According to a recent post on Re/code, plans have long been underway for a mobile ad network that will empower Facebook to pitch ads to publishers and developers, thus enabling Facebook to make money from its extensive user base – even when those users aren’t on Facebook.
For its part, Facebook had claimed in a January blog post that testing was ongoing in efforts to develop a new way for developers to monetize mobile apps.
“We are running a small test to explore showing Facebook ads in third-party mobile apps,” wrote Sriram Krishnan, who helps create mobile products for Facebook. “In this test, we’ll be extending Facebook’s rich targeting to improve the relevancy of the ads people see, provide even greater reach for Facebook advertisers, and help developers better monetize their apps.”
Krishnan went on to label the test “more like a mobile ad network in that we are working directly with a small number of advertisers and publishers, rather than an outside ad-serving platform.”
Then, on the final day of April, 2014, Facebook officially confirmed the debut of its mobile ad network, using its F8 developer conference as the high-profile platform to make the much-anticipated announcement.
Dubbed Facebook Audience Network, the new network will let app developers and publishers target banners, interstitial and customizable native ad formats, leveraging Facebook’s massive mountain of personal data on its 1.3 billion users. It will also provide access to the more than 1 million advertisers on the world’s largest social network – from little local firms to giant global brands.
It’s not like the existing mobile advertising setup was exactly slowing down Facebook.
Also in January, Facebook said that mobile advertising revenue represented around 53 percent of Facebook’s advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 – which represented a 30 percent spike from the 23 percent figure for the same period in 2012.
And in late April, Facebook surprised analysts and blew past their expectations by revealing on an earnings call that the company posted a revenue of $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2014. Not only was that figure up 74% from the same period last year, but Facebook claimed that mobile advertising represented around 59% of the total advertising revenue – nearly double the 30% figure from the same period in 2013.
Facebook isn’t the only popular social network making news with new advertising initiatives and innovations.
In an ongoing effort to monetize their own social media platform and bring in additional advertisers and ad dollars, Twitter will unveil 15 new ad products over the next six months.
This aggressive impending ad launch was first reported in The Wall Street Journal, and the first batch of these new ad products will reportedly be released within weeks from now. The new ad products will follow Facebook’s strategy of encouraging users to download apps via their own platform.
The Wall Street Journal report also claimed that Twitter’s advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013 totaled $219.6 million – more than double the figure from the same period the previous year.
Of course, Twitter has spent parts of the past few years expanding its advertising capabilities. In 2010, the popular social network launched the first of its “Promoted Products” in the United States – with Promoted Tweets soon evolving further into Promoted Trends.
Late last year, Twitter introduced Tailored Audience Advertising, which allows advertisers to target consumers based on what they’ve said in the past. Even more recently, the company debuted its photo-tagging and multi-image upload tools, as well as free “Pinned Tweets” to select personal accounts.