Facebook (News - Alert) is now a mobile company.
That's straight from a conference call held just last night featuring no less than CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as he, and a few others, described what was going on in Facebook's operations.
But what is this mobile company out to do now? Early word suggests it's got a whole e-commerce platform in the wings, and word from the advertisers who've seen it is that it's some very well put-together stuff.
Facebook's early attempts into mobile didn't get a lot of attention at first. Back in October, it brought out what were called "mobile app install ads," which represented about a dozen new ad products that all looked vaguely similar. Worse, they were mainly geared toward games and apps, which are something of a dying art on Facebook.
But the ads themselves had more potential than the early indications let on, and the possibility that the ads could be used to power e-commerce on Facebook wasn't lost on the advertisers.
Since the ad units allow users to download a client's app, there was the possibility of wider use. App downloads are commonly seen as more valuable to advertisers, especially compared to impressions. While impressions prove that someone has made contact with a brand, app downloads are more likely to be used over time, resulting in a kind of cascading impressions effect – impressions not just the day the ad airs, but also impressions down the line – as well as a better quality of impression; not just someone seeing an ad and promptly forgetting it, or worse, actively ignoring it, but interacting with the ad actively, getting more out of it and keeping the app's sponsor front-of-mind.
Fab.com's CEO, Jason Goldberg, whose company represents a large part of Facebook's advertising, called Facebook's mobile e-commerce platform "five times more effective than any other mobile download channel that we've used." A test run for Nanigans cost just $325,000 but brought in fully 32.5 million ad impressions.
That may very well change the game as far as mobile advertising goes, and Facebook is in on the ground floor of this move.
This means a lot of possibilities, frankly; while the numbers for Facebook looked pretty good as of last night, the investor response was less than pleasant. But with this waiting in the wings, and sound numbers to cap off the fiscal year, it might be a pretty good time to get back into Facebook stock.
Facebook is still something of a new player in a lot of arenas, but it's clear that the company also has some very big plans in store. Only time will tell how well these plans ultimately work, but it's still looking pretty good for its long-term wellbeing.
Edited by Braden Becker
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