Mobile advertising is a huge opportunity wasted by Facebook. Around 488 million users accessed Facebook via their mobile device in March. That's a lot of eyeballs that see absolutely zero ads.
If you think Facebook has only a mobile problem, you'd be wrong. I use Adblock Plus for both Firefox and Chrome and it blocks most advertising. Case in point, here's how Facebook looks with no ads under Sponsored (red arrow):
Ad blocking problems isn't necessarily just a Facebook problem - it affects any website dependent on advertising. There are ways around this though. Facebook could stick advertisements within the scrolling News Feed in the middle where most eyeballs are drawn. Everyone that uses Facebook checks out their News Feed the most. I can envision Facebook detecting your "Likes" and then displaying relevant products or services with affiliate links. For instance, one of my Likes is "Star Trek", so why not display a Blu-ray of one of the Star Trek movies or TV series in the News Feed?
Also, the current crop of sponsored links in the right sidebar is boring. It's true that Google Adsense ads are typically boring too, especially the text-only ones. However when you are searching for something, you might see an interesting text link relevant to what you are looking for at that particular time. Facebook is supposed to be exciting with lots of photos and videos in your News Feed. If graphical photo ads are going to compete with other photos on the page they need to be bigger.
The other problem with Facebook using your "Likes" to build your personality & advertising profile, is that it's not time-sensitive like Google (or Bing) searches. For instance, I may have 'liked' Rambo 8 months ago, but it doesn't mean I'm currently interested in buying the DVD/Blu-ray (I already own it). However, when searching on Google for "Rambo" there is a greater chance you are currently interested in buying the DVD/Blu-ray.
Still, knowing your "Likes" is valuable information for advertisers. If you like Mitt Romney, display a Mitt Romney ad or if you like President Obama display one of his ads. With around $1.4 billion to be spent this election season, leveraging the #1 social media site in the world to display an ad could be beneficial.
In fact, Facebook could really make some serious dough "selling" the News Feed space to Mitt Romney or President Obama. There are several viral YouTube videos - often with humor - that can impact people's perception of Romney or Obama. Cases in point, 'Hitler Finds Out Obama Ate His Dog', President Obama: "Dog Eater," the Music Video, or Time for Some Campaignin'. So why not offer photos, videos, or links to propaganda pro-Obama or pro-Romney puff-pieces articles? By appearing as a News Feed item, Facebook users can Like or Share the item therefore leveraging the social media sharing power of Facebook, which can make stories, videos, or photos go viral.
So in summary, here's my proposed mark-up of Facebook ads in the News Feed, right-sidebar, and the the left sidebar. [click for large image]
Tags: ads, advertisements, affiliate, apple, cafepress, facebook, mobile advertising, netflix, ppc
Related tags: president obama, however searching, right sidebar, social media, currently interested, facebook
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