It’s Time To Ask Yourself, “Why Not Advertise On Mobile With Facebook?”

You don’t need to be an advertising expert to spot what’s wrong with this chart, which comes courtesy of Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins and compares time spent by US consumers with various media and the dollars that advertisers spend in those channels.

Mary Meeker time spent vs. ad spend chart 2013

Look at the bars to the far right and far left and you’ll see a mirror image of a related problem. On the right, you’ll see mobile attracts 20 percent of time spent but only four percent of ad spend. On the left, print accounts for only five percent of media time, but it gobbles up 19 percent of ad spend.

This chart shows that there’s lag time separating consumer behavior and how advertisers respond. If you work in marketing, seeing discrepancies like this should evoke a two-word response: massive opportunity.

It’s a massive opportunity because the chances are excellent that your competition has talked themselves out of advertising in mobile at a level anyone would consider to be more than dabbling. They probably aren’t making the right choices for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They don’t see their competition doing it yet.

  • Their agencies aren’t suggesting it.

  • They don’t believe that advertising in mobile makes sense for their business.

  • They have had a negative experience with mobile and are feeling gun shy.

  • They aren’t aware of just how much their consumers’ behavior has changed in favor of mobile.

  • They are aware but don’t know how to respond to the mobile migration.

  • They have a vague sense of what they should do but don’t know whom to ask for help.

  • They think that dabbling is enough, that spending just enough to check a box will allow them to show that they are, in fact, embracing mobile.

I encourage you to put aside all these reasons for inaction and instead focus on some indisputable facts that should embolden you. It’s time to pivot your advertising budget so you can close the mobile time spent vs. media spend gap that almost certainly applies to your business, too.

  • Today, over 50 percent of digital media time spent is with mobile apps.

  • We spend one out of every five of those minutes using Facebook.

  • Facebook has nearly 800 million daily mobile users, and the company possesses extraordinarily rich data about them.

  • Facebook therefore can do more to help mobile marketers target extremely well defined audiences than anybody else.

  • These insights also help creative teams build ads that Facebook users will find highly relevant.

  • These ads take up most of a user’s screen, which makes them really engaging.

In other words, Facebook dominates mobile, delivers massive yet finely tuned audience segments, and offers some of the best performing creative ad units, mobile or otherwise.

I’ll close with some history. How did Google look after only 11 quarters of existence as a public company, which is how old Facebook finds itself following last week’s quarterly earnings announcement?

Let’s compare Google and Facebook quarterly earnings through their first 11 quarters post-IPO. This data comes from YCharts.

Facebook vs. Google revenues - first 11 quarters post-IPO

It’s striking just how closely their numbers match. We should conclude, therefore, that Facebook’s foundation as an advertising business is at least as sturdy as Google’s.

I mention this because today, no marketer says to herself, “Paid search isn’t legitimate. It’s not a real thing.” Search now accounts for half of all digital ad spend, and Google gets the lion’s share. It’s hard to believe marketing plans once lacked paid search.

In a few years, we’ll look back at Facebook and say the same thing, only it will be in the context of mobile advertising.

One comment

  1. […] A couple of weeks ago, I seized upon Facebook’s Q1 2015 earnings announcement to proclaim that if you haven’t already committed fully to marketing through Facebook above and beyond whatever you do to nurture community, now is the time to start. All signs point to Facebook becoming a dominant performer in mobile marketing. Now is the time to make it strategic. […]


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