Merchant Innovation

Facebook May Pit Mobile Ad Platform Against Twitter

While Twitter’s mobile advertising engine, MoPub, is steadily chugging along, Facebook has taken notice, and is rumored to be launching a similar product of its own in the near future, Bloomberg reported.

Bloomberg speculates that the development will likely be announced at Facebook’s F8 developer conference later this month, but Facebook has made no public comment on the rumors, or what will be revealed at the conference along those lines.

Originally an independent startup, MoPub offers a comprehensive platform that monetizes ad space on mobile platforms and social media, while providing real-time bidding for prime advertising slots and times. In 2013, the company was purchased by Twitter for $350 million prior to Twitter’s IPO release that fall, though the company had reportedly only a net revenue of $6.5 million in the first half of that year. Questions of the company’s viability within the Twitter infrastructure were short-lived, as SunTrust estimates that the company has grown to generate over $56 million in revenue from the advertising auctions last year, with the potential to hit over $500 million by 2017.

Despite the silence from Facebook on the matter, the company has made moves in the past that would indicate at least a desire to further its reach in the mobile advertising market. Last year, Facebook released Audience Network, which is meant to build out its infrastructure and enable advertisers to run Facebook ads on third-party mobile phones. Another such program is Atlas, which tracks users anonymously and provides feedback to advertisers. Facebook has also taken out a patent on a program that would enable advertisers to target only the most “influential” people on social media. Theoretically, these programs would be stitched together as part of any MoPub-like system.

For now though, Facebook is turning its attention to other ventures, such as building operation partnerships through Internet.org to bring Internet access to third-world countries. On the revenue side, the company is reportedly working on ways to integrate payment processing through its social messaging features, signaling that finding new ways to raise revenues are firmly on the brains of Facebook executives.

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