Facebook rolls out mobile ads

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Facebook’s decision to roll out Timeline to brand pages was pretty big news, but its decision to include ads on its mobile offering could affect the average user just as much, if not more.

The social network made the announcement at its Facebook Marketing Conference.

Sponsored Stories — essentially posts from friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organisation or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance people will see them — will now appear on your Facebook mobile newsfeed.

The Facebook log out page will also include advertising, with space for a large advert the size of a Timeline cover photo. These ‘premium ads’ now allow advertisers to take advantage of a page that approximately 37 million people in the US see every day – and that doesn’t have any other content that could distract them.

Facebook’s announcement comes just days after fellow social networking site Twitter announced it would be including promoted tweets on the newsfeeds of its iOS and Android apps.

The social network also rolled out “offers”, which it describes as “a free new way for businesses to share discounts and promotions directly from a Facebook Page”.

It claims these offers “can be distributed through the News Feed or promoted as Sponsored Stories. People can redeem Offers via email or on a mobile device”.

According to specialist publisher All Facebook, one company has already brought out a custom template for the mobile iteration of Sponsored Stories.

Buddy Media founder Michael Lazerow is another business owner who’s made a success out of the business of Facebook. Speaking to Bloomberg, he said he’d expressed concerns that the social network might make his line of work — helping brands promote themselves on Facebook — redundant.

Lazerow called up Facebook operating chief Sheryl Sandberg: “Sheryl told me, ‘We want you to make a ton of money. We want to enable you with great technology,’” Lazerow told the business publication. “‘We don’t have aspirations to be in the enterprise software business.’”

There are a number of small businesses like Lazerow’s, who make their money from providing Facebook services.

EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson reckons these kinds of industries provide an important service to people looking to market their brands on Facebook.

“They know the Facebook infrastructure inside and out, and they have developed interesting apps that marketers can tap into so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” she said.

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