I was reading through an AOP presentation (Digital Landscape Report vol. 54) this week when I came across one slide which quite startled me. It was talking about the growth of mobile advertising at Facebook and Twitter.
The fact that stood out for me was that fully 18% of Facebook’s ad revenue was now from mobile advertising, up from 0% in under a year. And the proportion was expected to grow to 40% this year. Twitter already has more revenue from mobile.
[The figures come from eMarketer but sadly I can’t share them as they are behind a pay wall and our corporate subscription seems to have expired.]
There was a lot of negative talk about the prospects for mobile advertising but the fact is that customers of both sites seem to have taken the ads in their stride.
In both Facebook and Twitter the ads take the form of posts which are placed in the news stream. They are clearly labelled – as “promoted tweets” on Twitter and “suggested posts” on Facebook – but they slot easily into the stream and don’t disrupt the reading experience.
I’ve no idea whether these new ads have a better response rate than conventional banners, buttons, overlays and the rest – maybe someone can supply the data? But somehow this seems like a much better approach to getting the message across than the increasingly desperate ways of interrupting the flow of concentration which seem to be very much the norm now online.
The user experience of browsing through a “river” of feeds on Facebook or Twitter is not jarred of broken by the arrival of promoted/suggested content – you can take it or leave it just as you can the posts themselves (although using Facebook’s precise targeting the chances of relevance should be high.)
If the response rates are acceptable (particularly if the relevance targeting gets better and better) advertisers and the sites themselves should resist the temptation to try to make them stand out in the bad old ways. Comfortable co-existence, which has never been the case online, is by far the best long term solution. And the figures certainly seem to support this.