By John Egan
At Facebook’s annual shareholders meeting in July, the social media network’s top in-house attorney, Colin Stretch, reminded attendees to turn off their mobile devices. That might be one of the few times you’ll ever hear a Facebook executive deliver a no-mobile directive.
Facebook is a prime example of how businesses large and small are capitalizing on the surge in mobile activity. In June, more than 1.3 billion people visited Facebook on mobile devices, a 23 percent jump from last year.
“Mobile remains the key driver of our growth,” David Wehner, chief financial officer of Facebook, recently told Wall Street analysts. Indeed, mobile represented 76 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue in the second quarter. During the quarter, mobile ad revenue climbed to $2.9 billion, up 74 percent from a year earlier.
At the upcoming LeadsCon New York, two speakers from Facebook will delve into how mobile is reshaping the marketing and advertising landscape for their company and others.
Khurrum Malik, head of North American product marketing at Facebook, will discuss how people are discovering, researching and buying products via mobile devices. At LeadsCon’s Path2Conversion Summit, Rob Creekmore, advertising research manager at Facebook, will address storytelling across an array of devices and channels.
To be sure, Malik, Creekmore and their Facebook colleagues are riding a massive mobile wave.
According to a forecast from eMarketer, Facebook will rocket toward $5 billion in revenue from mobile ads this year. In 2015, for the first time, mobile will surpass desktop for spending on display ads in the US, jumping from $9.65 billion last year to $14.67 billion this year, eMarketer says. Meanwhile, spending on display ads for desktop will recede in 2015, going to $12.38 billion from $12.56 billion last year.
By 2017, Facebook’s revenue from mobile ads in the US will grow to $7.53 billion, eMarketer predicts.
Not all that long ago, Facebook was barely making a dent in mobile, at least in terms of revenue. Only a couple of years back, Facebook lacked mobile ads. Today, the social media network sits in “a much better position than we even would have hoped,” given the significant amount of time and attention that users devote to Facebook, the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, told Wall Street analysts.
Facebook gobbles up one of every five minutes spent on smartphones in the US, the company says. The social media network is capturing mobile users through its own app, as well as through its Facebook Messenger and Instagram apps. According to comScore, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram rank among the 10 most popular mobile apps in the US.
“We believe we have the best-performing mobile ad product in the market, and video’s making it even better,” Sandberg said. “For marketers, video has always been a compelling format. Now, Facebook enables mass reach and cross-device targeting and measurement abilities far superior to what other platforms offer.”
For instance, Facebook now drives more subscribers to the HBO Now app than any other channel, she said. Those subscribers are coming through Facebook’s video retargeting mobile-app install ads.
“I think when people think about our mobile-app install ads, they often think this only applies to developers and small companies — and really it’s them as well — but it’s also companies like HBO which are using those ads to drive adoption and downloads,” Sandberg said.
Of course, more mobile innovations are on the horizon for Facebook. For instance, Facebook is developing event cover-art themes for use when an event is created on mobile, according toAdweek. Additionally, Facebook is working on a stand-alone mobile news app, Business Insiderreported.
As more consumers shop via multiple devices, it becomes more difficult to attract and then keep their attention. Rob Creekmore will explore the need for shoppers to customize their experience and how marketers can respond with the right content in his Path2Conversion session, "Always-On Consumers: Telling Your Story Across Devices and Channels," at 9 a.m., Monday, Aug. 24.
To learn more about the latest trends in mobile consumer behavior, join Khurrum Malik for his LeadsCon New York keynote, "The Next Frontier: Harnessing Mobile Intent," at 11:20 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 25. His presentation will provide marketers with useful information for simplifying the challenges created by constantly changing purchase behaviors and multiple devices in order to lead more successful campaigns.
Click here to register for LeadsCon New York 2015.