February in Review

Georgia: Our second story is about Facebook’s recent decision to go public.

[ Narration begins while ambient sounds of someone surfing the web play in the background. ]

Georgia: If you haven’t heard already, Facebook recently went public, and some people are wondering how this move will affect users. In order to find the answers to that question, I recently interviewed some WT experts. Drumheller: He’s… Zuckerberg’s trying to figure out how to get more advertising enabled on the mobile app. That’s kind of the latest thing. So we do see… a push on “how do we increase advertising” and that could be coming out of the IPO.

Georgia (Narrating): That is Dr. Kristina Drumheller. She is an Assistant Professor of Communication at WTAMU and is part of the MediaBuffs research group.

Georgia: Isn’t a large percentage of Facebook’s userbase mobile now?

Drumheller:I would imagine so, that people are at the very least checking their mobile even if they’re not doing everything on it.

Gerlich: Yeah, uh, let’s see… they’re [mobile ads] going to come as early as… it could be here as early as next month, mobile ads.

Georgia (Narrating): That is Dr. Nick Gerlich. He is a Professor of Marketing at WTAMU and also part of the MediaBuffs research group. The two are currently conducting a survey on Facebook’s timeline, which can be found on the MediaBuffs web site.

Gerlich: Given the fact that your screen size is a lot smaller, I have a hunch that the annoyance factor will be a lot higher. You know, when you’re looking at an 11-inch monitor, it’s a lot easier to avoid the right-hand pane. But when you’re looking at an iPhone, it’s going to be hard to miss it.

Drumheller: It depends on how prominent it is, right?

Gerlich: Yeah.

Drumheller: You know, in the game apps, a lot of those ads are kind of at the bottom. Those banner ads? You can ignore them pretty easily.

Gerlich: They’re so small.

Drumheller: Yeah. We still don’t know how intrusive the ads are going to be.

Gerlich: But, this is the thing that is really critical for Facebook. With 845 million users, about half of them are using mobile devices to access ads. They’re not getting a single one! And so, this is the missing link for Faceboook’s revenue stream. Because they’ve totally missed it for all these years. They haven’t gotten a nickel off all those mobile eyeballs.

Georgia (Narrating):One of the things the IPO revealed about Facebook is that it’s not very pleased with its current ad sales. Though advertising is a major source of revenue for the company, its sidebar ads currently found on the site have not been as effective as desired.

Gerlich: Um, there’s always a risk that they’re going to shoot too wide and miss completely. But, just this week they started doing better, or more, ad placement amongst your photos. Take a look at your pictures —  go into your albums, look at your individual pictures — every one of them now has one or more ads. And they’re going to try to target those ads to whatever your captions might have been… and I have a hunch they can also begin to mine other data like, you know, geo-tagging.


About Georgia Romig

Georgia Romig is a web assistant for The Prairie. She has been contributing since 2006, became a staff reporter in 2007 and an editor in 2008. Her job is to maintain The Prairie web site and social media outlets. She is a Graduate Student majoring in Communication. You can contact her on Twitter, Facebook or by e-mail.

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