Get ready for more ads on your Facebook app

Molly Wood Jul 27, 2012

Facebook has reported its quarterly numbers, publicly, for the first time. And there were a lot of numbers, too many to mention. Wall Street seemed disappointed.

Nate Elliott is an analyst with Forrester. He says Facebook still needs to figure out how to bring in more money from ads. Doing that on the web is pretty simple. “The solution on the PC website has been let’s just get more and more ads on every page, and surely users will have noticed that what used to be one or two ads on their home page at Facebook now is six and seven and eight ads.”

That approach won’t work on mobile. Screens on a tablet or a smartphone running the Facebook app are smaller. Elliott says, “If they try to overload mobile users to that extent, then their famously active mobile user base will become famously inactive. So, they’re going to have to figure out a way to add additional data to those ads and help marketers target those ads. How can you get location-based data into the targeting criteria and what other tools can you use to make those mobile ads more effective.”

I’ll translate. The Facebook app will want to know where you are and then offer you deals or enticements from merchants around you, who pay Facebook for the privilege of reaching out to you.

Elliott says Facebook needs to learn to love mobile devices just like the rest of the world has, despite their shortcomings. “You’ve got a smaller screen, less resolution, slower download speeds and a horribly difficult to use input device. No mouse, no proper keyboard in most cases. what Facebook has to get past is those limitations and they have to say what are the advantages to this platform that’s making so many of our users engage with us here. Convenience is one of those factors. If they can start to figure out how to turn those benefits of Facebook mobile for users into benefits to advertisers, then I think that will go a long way towards helping them make money.”


Kansas City has got it going on. There’s barbecue, blues music, the baseball career of George Brett. And now there’s ridiculously high speed Internet, just switched on by Google.

Google is using Kansas City as a test market for a new fiber network. One gigabyte per second, 100 times the average home internet speed, says Google. Just as fast uploading as downloading.

Susan Crawford from Harvard University. Why is it so fast?

Susan Crawford: This is a glass tube through which lasers are shot.

Moe: Lasers!

Crawford: Lasers! And the pulsing of those lasers conveys the information, and this can carry thousands of times more information than a traditional cable wire or a copper wire that we use for telephone calls. It’s just vanishingly fast.

Moe: So what does that mean for me if I live in Kansas City?

Crawford: You’ll be able to have multiple non-compressed high definition streams of video coming in and out of your house. That will allow you to run your business from your house, plus all your kids can be watching all their stuff on all their devices, plus someone can do her homework, and no one will notice anybody else is using the network. That kind of capacity no one else in America has.

Moe: Is this something that we’re all going to get eventually?

Crawford: No. As things currently are going in America, the cable operators have no incentive to expand to fiber. Google was able to squeeze costs here in Kansas City with the aid of the city. It’s unclear how many other cities will get this kind of access.

Susan Crawford says she’s watching to see if other cities rise up and demand to be more like Kansas City.

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