Facebook soon bringing ads to smartphones, tablets

Now that Facebook has filed for an IPO, we knew it might lead to some changes for the world’s largest social network. Well, a new report from the Financial Times reports that we could start to see some advertising on its mobile products in the coming weeks.

The report suggests that advertising on mobile Facebook will be different than on the web, as it will primarily concentrate on promotional “featured stories” within your news feed. These should be clearly identified but you just know that people are going to freak out whenever Facebook does anything. While I don’t like more ads in my life, I understand why this has to happen.

Facebook listed mobile as one of its biggest risks because it currently doesn’t generate any significant revenue from its apps or mobile web products, VentureBeat points out. This has all been by design, as Facebook was looking for scale on the mobile side before generating money. It has done quite well on that front, as it currently has more than 425 million mobile users.

It’s unclear how big of an impact these mobile ads will have on Facebook’s bottom line but this isn’t the only lever the company has to pull to monetize its strong mobile presence. The latest mobile redesign enables Facebook users to access their services and apps via a smartphone’s browser and this also includes the ability to use in-app currency. Unfortunately for Facebook, iOS users don’t seem able to use Facebook Credits via the browser at this moment.

Facebook may also have some major ammunition to unleash in the mobile space down the road, as rumors still persist it is building its own Facebook phone. Building, marketing and distributing your own hardware will be an expensive proposition but the IPO could give it the capital it needs to do this and Facebook could argue that this is the best move for its mobile future. The company’s mobile access is still heavily reliant on competitors’ platforms, so Facebook may need to control its own destiny by producing its own smartphone and smartphone OS.

[Via Financial Times, Venturebeat]

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