Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference that the company is now focused more on mobile. He mentioned the importance of search and ads, but not mobile ads.
Zuck didn't go into details, but the fact is Facebook has already launched a re-targeted ad network, and also recently updated its iOS app. Zuckerberg did say Facebook had bet too much on HTML5 in his keynote speech at the tech conference, and that more attention needs to paid to native apps. As for search, there's simply too much money to be made there -- and Facebook has too much access to users' data to keep ignoring it.
Facebook Exchange is a re-targeted ad bidding network where third party websites drop a cookie onto visiting users' browsers that can then be used by Facebook to serve up more relevant ads (similar to what it did with target posts). It could prove to be even more lucrative than Sponsored Stories, even if some Facebookers don't like the idea of this kind of service.
Facebook has famously traded on its cool factor but now that it is a public company, it is beholden to its investors. That means coming up with a way to make lots of cash. With the re-targeted ads, Facebook can take advantage of its immense data set without going too deep into users' privacy.
For example, Facebook's Like button is used on millions of websites, and it gives the company some unique insight into people's behavior even when they aren't actually on a Facebook page. The company has so far decided not to leverage this data for ads, Gokul Rajaram, Facebook's director of project management for ads, said in an interview at AdExchanger.com.
The Importance of Mobile
While the iOS app update is no doubt quite popular, Zuck said there would be an ambitious new Android app update as well. As a mobile company, Facebook needs to focus on the mobile experience these users are having. While there hasn't been a push to use banner ads on the mobile Facebook site, Facebook Exchange signals that the company is inching in that direction.
Facebook's new iOS app scrolls faster and offers instant access to notifications. There's still no share feature, however.
Another advertising area Facebook could look to is video. Only YouTube gets more video uploads than Facebook, and YouTube already has a an ad system in place for its most popular vids. Videos are also one of the fastest growing areas of the Web, so if Facebook were to harness the power of video, search and mobile, not even Google could stand in their way.