Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook’s Mobile Ad Plan = Twitter’s Mobile Ad Plan

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Facebook is still in the first stages of a half-day marketing event, but it has already laid out its long-awaited plan to sell ads on mobile phones.

But if you were paying attention to Twitter’s ad news yesterday, then you already know about Facebook’s ad news today. Because they’re both doing the same thing: They’re selling brands access to the primary stream of content that both companies serve up to their users. And they’ll let them do it on mobile phones, too.

Facebook’s big idea, as it laid out in marketing documents that leaked last week, is that marketers should create “content” that will double as an ad. And it will let them distribute that content/ad in between the rest of the stuff in users’ “newsfeed” — both on PCs and on phones.

Simple straightforward idea. And perhaps the only one that really works: There’s so little real estate available on phones that it would be hard for Facebook to sell any other kind of ad unit without really uglifying the experience.

And that appears to be the same conclusion that Twitter reached some time ago, because Twitter’s ads function exactly like Twitter’s content, too.

Mobile is key for both companies. Facebook has already pointed out that more than half of its users access the service via phones many times a month. And for many people, Twitter is almost entirely a mobile service, period.

But until this week phones didn’t make a dime for Facebook, and only made pennies for Twitter. Google could IPO back in 2004 without a mobile plan, but that’s not an option now.

(Image courtesy of iStockphoto | ymgerman)


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald