Rumors have been floating for some time that Facebook would release a mobile ad format. They are reaching a crescendo, though, and in the run up to its IPO, many believe that something along these lines will be introduced. In its S-1 filing, Facebook noted that its lack of a mobile platform was one of the risks facing investors.
The Financial Times reports that Facebook will launch a mobile ad format this March. It will be a unique ad format on mobile, probably following the same model as Featured Stories, it said. Other models might be based on rich media such as video and potentially exploiting the narrow geographical targeting of its users.
This article follows last November's report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, which said that the company is considering putting Facebook's Sponsored Stories ads within the mobile News Feed. It too cited March as the delivery date.
In July, Facebook asked some developers to build versions of their applications for the HTML5 standard with the end goal of selling virtual goods—news that again was leaked by unnamed sources in a Bloomberg news report.
Facebook Ad Revenue Grew 69% in '11
Even without mobile, Facebook is delivering formidable advertising revenues. Last year, they reached $3.15 billion, representing an increase of almost 69% from $1.87 billion in 2010, and more than tripling from $764 million in 2009, according to the prospectus it filed in conjunction with its IPO.
It had 845 million monthly active users as of December 31, 2011, representing growth of 39% from 608 million a year earlier, and 135% from 360 million at the end of 2009. The amount of daily active users (DAUs) also increased 48% from an average of 327 million in December 2010 to an average of 483 million December 2011.