Facebook ad revenue slowdown – a mobile problem

By Andreas Pouros

According to leading independent digital marketing agency Greenlight, if a phone is now not part of its plans, Facebook has a mobile problem on its hands.

If a Facebook phone is now not on the cards, Facebook remains without a solid answer to its mobile problem. Yes, new ad formats have been and will continue to be launched by the company for mobile users, but there is a serious question over whether Facebook can integrate a compelling advertising offering on the smallest of screens which users will be comfortable with and that does not interfere with their Facebook user experience. Suffice to say, yesterday’s earnings call shows Facebook to be a great company that can make lots of money, but in the mobile battle, Google and Apple remain far ahead of the pack.

Why is mobile so important?

Late last year, Facebook stated that over 425 million monthly active users accessed Facebook on a mobile device, approximately half of all of Facebook’s monthly active users. Whilst this has increased Facebook usage, it means that users are accessing the social network increasingly on devices which Facebook has less control over, with less opportunity to make money from with advertising, mainly because these devices have less space for advertising, are influenced by third parties (Apple, Android, etc.), and Facebook delivered via apps, like Flipboard, are much harder to infiltrate with advertising.

This is not the case for other companies, such as Google. Its advertising mechanisms fit infinitely more comfortably on a mobile platform.

The earnings call provided little confidence that Facebook has made any significant inroads into this problem, and many investors commented that they would have liked a more elaborate plan and forecast to alleviate their concerns over future profit growth.

No Facebook phone but if there were, a poll by Greenlight shows over 50% could be swayed to switch.

Reports in July about Facebook and HTC having brokered a deal to produce a Facebook phone were denied in the earnings call. Speculating on how successful such a strategy might be though, Greenlight polled 500 people globally to gauge consumer appetite were Facebook to produce its own mobile phone. 50% said they would ‘never’ switch to a Facebook phone, 8% said they ‘definitely’ would, whilst the remaining 44% stated that they would ‘maybe’ purchase a Facebook phone.

About the author

Andreas Pouros is Chief Operating Officer at Greenlight. He has been involved in search for over 12 years. He is an expert in both business and technological principles and directs Greenlight’s client services and implementation teams. Andreas also plays a pivotal role in product development and business growth strategy.

About Greenlight:

Greenlight is a leading independent digital marketing agency, providing Search and Social Media services. With over 100 blue-chip clients including Santander, New Look, Sky and ghd, Greenlight is a leader in the digital marketing space, and is recognized worldwide for its commitment to delivering record ROI for its clients and investing in the future. Greenlight is considered the premier thought leader in the sector publishing widely read industry reports, original research and speaking at trade events. Founded in 2001, Greenlight is headquartered in London, with offices in New York.


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