How Facebook Can Clean Up Mobile Advertising.


I’ve been giving some thought to the sad state of advertising on mobile devices. To quote the Direct TV television campaign, mobile advertising really is being led by “settlers.”   On my mobile for instance, there are banner ads at the bottom of the screen that measure maybe ¼ inch in height. In those ads are pictures, lots of words and, pray tell, a sales message. Other mobile ads include 15 and 30 second TV spots that too frequently infiltrate my media twitches between YouTube views. Why must I watch a :15 just to view a 45 second video? It’s crazy. And text and link ads are ugly and boring — born of the analytics crowd.

There was an interesting article in the NYT today on how media companies and websites are losing traffic and ad dollars to platforms like Facebook. Many news publishers, pressed by economics, are downsizing and thinking about better utilizing other platforms for their content delivery. The Times reports that $.85 of every dollar in internet advertising goes to Facebook and Google.

So here’s my prediction.  At some point Facebook will change its mobile advertising effort over to more of a TV approach. They will sell video spots, not banners or other unsightly clickables, and those spots will be distributed in pods. That is, if you spend 15 straight minutes on Facebook, you will have to sit through two :30 second spots. Spots that are nicely produced. Pretty to look at and entertaining. No clicks needed. You are, after all, using a mobile search without peer. 

Video spots are actually more suited for mobile devices than they are for TV.  

Evolving web advertising to this model will be very disruptive. It will also hasten moving content to Facebook. And it will be messy. Beyond what we can foresee. But it is one way to improve the ad experience. Google cannot play at this time, they need the Fast Twitch nature of the web. YouTube can play as can Netflix. Going to be a wild ride.