Facebook has said it will give advertisers more direct access to its 845 million users across all devices, including mobile.
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With new “Premium on Facebook” ads, marketers can expand their reach on the social network by paying for a video, a coupon or other message to appear on the homepages of Facebook users, on the log-out screen and even within users’ newsfeeds. Until now the newsfeed had been free of paid marketing messages.
“Our vision for marketing is that it is as good as any of the content you and I see on our newsfeed from a friend or family member,” Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said.
The revamped features represent the company’s latest push to convince businesses to spend money advertising on the social network, rather than simply using Facebook as a free marketing tool. The new ads also mark Facebook’s first effort to generate revenue from the growing ranks of consumers who access the service on mobile devices.
“Premium and mobile ads will help Facebook generate more revenue, particularly from big brand advertisers,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Williamson. “Premium will enable advertisers to have a broader reach on Facebook, but they will have to pay for that.”
Allowing paid company posts onto users’ newsfeeds is a risk for Facebook because newsfeeds could get overwhelmed with advertising messages, Williamson added.
“Facebook advertising in the past was off to the side,” she said. “Now Facebook is taking the bold step of putting advertising right in the mix between photos of babies and updates on trips to restaurants.”
Other new features let companies, as well as celebrities and brands, create self-contained mini-websites within Facebook using the Timeline format it introduced for users’ profile pages earlier this year.
Facebook Pages will be available for smartphones starting later this year, executives said.
Businesses initially seemed to approve of the expanded marketing arsenal, particularly the ability to target a growing population of phone-toting consumers. About half of Facebook users access the service on a mobile device.
“Mobile Facebook ads are huge. We’ll be all over this,” said Jason Goldberg, chief executive of online designer retailer Fab.com. “We’re already seeing more than 40% of our daily traffic to Fab from mobile. Being able to reach Facebook mobile users will only increase that.”
Facebook’s new mobile ads are part of the Premium service. When companies buy a “premium” ad, they are paying for their message to show up in a several places on Facebook, including on the righthand side of a user’s homepage, when people log out and, potentially, in the newsfeed.
Facebook’s algorithm determines whether or not an ad will show up in a user’s newsfeed, so there is no guarantee for companies that it will.
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