Everyone's favorite social network, Facebook, is looking to diversify revenue streams. As Facebook has been more recently known to do, they're trying to be prudent around their strategy by assessing the amount of ads they can serve and limit user dissonance. It's a difficult balance because Facebook has never served mobile ads, until recently. Also, according to the Vancouver Sun, customers aren't particularly keen to mobile advertising messages on their social networks. Serving ads into this market will allow Facebook to live up to that $100 Billion valuation some are expecting for their impending IPO, though. Thus, it will happen.
Going through the numbers, it seems that the automotive industry can help.
First, we should review what type of scale mobile advertisers have with "likes" since they equal ads. A "like" means that the person who clicked it and their friends will see ads from that company. There is definitely room for growth. While reviewing Ignite Social Media's list of top fan pages on the network, I found that only one automotive brand ranked in the top 50 - BMW with nearly 6.7 million fans as of November 2011. I don't see this as a negative, but rather an opportunity for OEMs to utilize data to bolster these numbers.
Obviously, the owner to fan ratio is further from 1:1 than some of the other top products. Why is that? Typically, auto lags in new technology and marketing acceptance, but represents one of the largest ad categories in every channel. Social, being nascent, isn't necessarily wrought with the empirical evidence that loosens budgets. However, if Facebook is looking to sell mobile ads, then the opportunity could be vast.
Mobile video, according to the Guardian, is expected to grow by 117%, and auto ads lend very well to mobile video. Given that more of the public is watching video, especially via mobile would lead to an assumption that mobile video ads are probably going to be among the least intrusive in the Facebook platform. This segues us to the opportunity. If automakers are inputting mobile ads into their mobile social marketing mix, then they stand a chance to be able to stay below the annoyance threshold by giving consumers the format they're most willing to click and engage with. Thus, leading to fan growth and further opportunities to engage.
This could boost ad revenue for Facebook, fans numbers for automakers and mobile video views for the industry. As Facebook is going through the growing pains of managing mobile ad volume, maybe the automotive industry can be of assistance by finding likely and current fans, using data, and serving ads via the proper medium of video.
What do you think about the opportunity for automotive marketers on Facebook's mobile site and applications?
Posted by Therran Oliphant, Product Marketing Manager, Polk (03.19.2012)