Facebook Takes a Fresh Look at Mobile Advertising

With Facebook stock tanking, the time has obviously come for the social networking giant to shore up its public reputation as a company with a plan for mobile advertising.

Facebook this week has taken a bold step to broaden its appeal to marketers. According to a report this morning from Reuters, that plan represents a renewed effort by Facebook to make the most of a golden opportunity.

Although this is not the first time sponsored stories have been available in the news feed through mobile devices,  advertisers can now delegate where they want their ads to show.

“Marketers were able to buy sponsored stories on mobile as part of a bundle since fMC earlier this year,” a Facebook spokesperson tells Mobile Marketing Watch. “Today’s announcement just makes it possible for them to buy sponsored stories on mobile separately from other placements.”

Not surprisingly, the move has been well received given the previous limitation on advertiser options regarding display placement.

“It is a major drawback to Facebook that they have been unable to monetize the mobile activity of its user base,” Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group, tells Reuters.

Previously, advertisers could buy a broad category of “sponsored stories”: advertisements that would run on the website. But Facebook controlled whether the ads actually appeared on mobile devices, and in users news feeds.

Despite the latest move, Facebook still has a long way to go before investors start to see a light at the end of the mobile ad tunnel. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that “four out of five Facebook users have never brought a product or service as a result of advertising or comments on the site.”