Update: False alarm, apparently. A Facebook spokesperson says:
"We want to clarify that we are not working with any agency to create paid ads on our mobile platform."
Gelb clarified further:
"I would like to clarify a statement I made in an interview yesterday regarding Facebook. Razorfish is NOT working with Facebook on any mobile media ad buying. Rather, in the interview I was referring to rich media featured stories, not paid ads.”
So, I guess we're free top continue speculation on when Facebook actually will start offering mobile ads. It's still expected top be the near future.
Original Article: We've been hearing for a couple months now that Facebook would soon be launching mobile ads. And why not? Frankly, it's astonishing that the company has not already put them out there.
News comes today, however, that the company is already test piloting some mobile ads, and rich ones, possibly with animation, at that. DigiDay spoke with Razorfish's Paul Gelb, who says that Razorfish is "currently engaged in pilot programs for 'mobile and cross-platform rich-media ads".
DigiDay's Jack Marshall reports:
It remains unclear on what basis the ads will be sold, but Gelb implied advertisers will be able to reach users across all devices with a single buy. Judging by Facebook’s desktop ad formats, it’s likely they’ll be disseminated across users’ networks as they interact with them.
The units themselves, meanwhile, will offer similar functionalities to other mobile rich-media ad providers such as Medialets and Crisp Media, Gelb suggested. Ads powered by those companies typically feature interactive elements and animations, video content, location-based features and various calls to action such as tap-to-call and tap-to-coupon.
Not exactly your standard Facebook ads, but there's no reason to think those won't be coming along in the near future as well.
Rising mobile use, without ads on Facebook's mobile ads, is one of the things Facebook listed in its "Risk Factors" section in its IPO filing. What better way to avert such a risk, than plastering ads onto the mobile experience(s).
I'd expect to see plenty of sponsored stories showing up in the mobile mix as well.
Ads have done little to push Facebook users away so far. I doubt mobile ads will do much either.
Facebook has 845 million monthly active users. 425 million of them use Facebook mobile products. Facebook also announced $3.7 billion annual revenue.