UPDATE: Facebook has said that they did not confirm that this product is on the way.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE: To anyone concerned with Facebook’s future ability to monetize their mobile platform, this could be some comforting news. For some users, it is bound to be a little less exciting.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Facebook is in the process of “readying” a mobile advertising product that will target users based on their geographic location. The ad platform would use up-to-the-minute data to determine the most effective ads to show users – for instance I might see an ad for a pizza place around the corner from where I’m standing.
Of course, location-based advertising isn’t new to Facebook – users have been shown desktop ads based on their zip code for awhile now. Real-time mobile targeting could greatly enhance the specificity of the ads, however.
“Phones can be location-specific so you can start to imagine what the product evolution might look like over time, particularly for retailers,” said Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions. “We’ve had offers being tested over the last couple of months.”
As of right now, the only types of ads the appear on Facebook’s mobile platform are Sponsored Stories, which appear in the news feed. With Sponsored Stories, advertisers can pay to promote a user’s activity (for instance “liking” their page or playing a game) after the fact, so the ad appears to have originated organically, from users’ friends.
And earlier this month, Facebook broke up their advertising packages to allow for mobile-only Sponsored Stories. Advertisers now have five different ways to specifically target their ad dollars.
Plus, Facebook is reportedly making some moves in another form of targeted advertising. Last week, we told you that the company is planning on launching what they call “Facebook Exchange,” a real-time ad bidding platform that will let advertisers target users who were just looking at a product on their site, but left before making a purchase.