In the past 18 months, Facebook has shifted its focus to mobile, moving from an HTML5 product to higher-quality native iOS and Android apps (that launched last fall). Why is that important? Mobile ads were 41% of Facebook’s Q2 revenue and mobile users spend roughly one in every five minutes online using Facebook (versus one in seven on the web). The Facebook app is being updated regularly including recent updates with News Feed redesign, Chat Heads, adding photos to comments, and the recent autoplay feature for videos.
Facebook recently introduced new features into its Mobile ad unit which transformed it from being a user-acquisition tool to something much more versatile. By allowing marketers to deep link and use any of eight vertical specific and universal calls-to-action, the Mobile App Ad unit enables brands to drive engagement and sales through their app.
Last year, Facebook launched mobile app ads to drive installs. These captured the growing number of Facebook mobile users and helped apps stand apart in the crowded marketplace of over 2 million competing products in both the Google Play and Apple App stores. It worked. Mobile app ads led to over 145 million installs this year to date (October 2013). However, brands are finding that increasing discoverability is just the first step in building and maintaining a mobile audience.
Facebook continues to move forward with its ads simplification initiative, impressing advertisers with better performance, more predictable buying, and increased user engagement. It launched its first pillar of the initiative – simplified ad types – earlier this summer. The second pillar rolled out September 10th, further streamlining marketing by providing consistency across ad units.
Advertising has come a long way since your backseat car days. Standard modes of advertising – like billboards, posters, and radio and TV commercials – can’t keep up with today’s consumers, who crave personalized, content-rich ads that target their specific interests and needs. There is a new frontier in advertising that transcends traditional physical and broadcast space, and that is the mobile, social frontier, featuring Facebook as its key player.