Facebook’s mobile ad proposition

In my spare time I am making a documentary, and I need to reach a very niche audience in order to complete my work. I need to reach people who support Liverpool FC and who were at the Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield, on April 15th 1989. There were only 24,000 Liverpool fans there that day, and so in a country with over 60m people in it, that is a needle in a haystack stuff. I don’t know of many other media solutions who could have helped me reach that audience.
I personally decided to place a Facebook ad campaign, once the power of Twitter had started to yield fewer and fewer results. I got a small display box with about 20 words that appeared on the side of users timeline.
The targeting possible was immense. I paid on a cost-per-click basis for advertising to reach a super-targeted group of people who were aged 35 or older, and have liked Liverpool FC on Facebook and who live within a 25 mile radius of Liverpool.
The reason that targeting was important? If my advertising reaches a person under 35 then they would have been a child when the disaster unfolded, and thus no use to my documentary.
The value of the person liking Liverpool FC and living in a close radius to Liverpool is hopefully obvious, but together they gave me a real chance of reaching people who may have been at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans ultimately lost their lives.
I opted to pay on a cost-per-click basis, with my advert asking users to click and like my Facebook page if they were at Hillsborough. The result? I had over 200 clicks, and the final result is that I have found four survivors who are willing to tell me their heartbreaking, yet incredible story as a direct result of an investment of less than £40. I have no way of measuring the additional value of all those in my target audience who saw my ad, but didn’t click on it, which were effectively free impressions.
My point to all of this is that whatever Facebook do with their much-anticipated mobile advertising launch, it’s going to be pretty compelling. Let’s face it, their sheer scale of audience and the data they have on that audience means that they can target broadly and narrowly with unerring accuracy.
So, you’re an independent Indian restaurant in Epsom? No problem! I can deliver you 10,000 Facebook users aged 25 or over, who have liked a food page, and who live in the towns within a 3 mile radius AND you only pay if they click to like your
Facebook page! If The Facebook hyper-local sales team isn’t being built now, then I openly put myself forward to launch it … Another ‘no brainer’ 🙂
So, if Facebook could plug a mobile ad-serving engine into that plethora of data like they have like they can online, then in my humble opinion, they don’t need to do any more in the short and medium term other than include a mobile banner at the top of every page load.
It’s not exactly innovative I realise, and it might seem ancient to the brilliant minds at Facebook, but it would pull like a runaway train and there would be no shortage of commuters on that journey. The modest mobile banner is usable across virtually all smartphone platforms and it is being traded as the de facto ad unit by most mobile specialists. It commands approximately 10-15% of the mobile screen real-estate, and without competing with other advertising messages. Add to that the rich media capabilities that companies such as Celtra offer with the super-accurate data that Facebook have, and you have a really sexy offering. Digital banners have been traded for years, and so the sell into advertisers would be pain-free.
Let’s put a business plan together on the back of a post-it note.
Facebook have over 200m users (real people’ not IP’s) worldwide. Let’s assume, for the purposes of this exercise, that 200m real people only create 5 page impressions each every month. That’s 1b page impressions and at one dollar for every thousand impressions you start to see a business that would be attractive to anybody, right? A billion dollar business, virtually overnight, and in actual fact the number of page impressions and the CPM would be considerably higher than that I’m sure.
Like everyone else this game, I await their mobile ad offering with interest.

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