Facebook’s Carolyn Everson was tight-lipped several months ago at paidContent Advertising when the subject of mobile advertising was discussed. Turns out Facebook has been working on its mobile ad approach the whole time, and now according to a report it’s gearing up to launch what could produce a big influx of cash just before it is expected to file for an initial public offering.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Facebook is looking at launching a mobile-advertising product by the end of March but hasn’t totally settled on the approach it wants to take. One idea under consideration involves putting “Sponsored Stories,” or status updates that involve major brands, within the news feed of its mobile apps and sites, the report said.
Mobile advertising is tricky, even for companies that don’t have to endlessly worry about freaking out their users with personalized advertising. More and more time is being spent in front of mobile devices but ad dollars have not followed as the industry struggles to figure out the right balance between visibility and respect for the user.
Facebook’s mobile traffic is certainly a huge part of its overall usage, given how many people check their news feeds and update their statuses while on the go. Yet Facebook has taken a cautious approach to mobile this year, waiting months to release an iPad app while it is believed to be working on an HTML5-friendly version of its site that would allow it to bypass apps altogether.
The pressure associated with heading down the IPO path may be just the motivation to get its mobile-advertising strategy in place.
“We are holding ourselves to as high a standard as possible on mobile,” Everson, Facebook’s global vice president for marketing solutions, said back in September at paidContent Advertising. “I don’t rule mobile out, but we are working hard to figure out what the right model is. We haven’t figured that out yet.”
Here’s a video of her appearance: