The rise of the humble mobile phone is phenomenal. For most, they are never without their mobile, and when it beeps or vibrates, they check to see what it is. It is a marketers dream! We’ve all become annoyed at receiving unwanted text messages (which we very much disapprove of), but marketers are becoming more and more creative at getting their message in front of you.
Facebook and Linkedin are very effective advertising mediums, because whether it’s the former or the latter, they generally speaking know you in a lot of detail. This enables the person wishing to advertise through these mediums very finite control over who their adverts are displayed in front of – and organisations with products and services to offer are willing to pay big for this.
For now though, both Facebook and Linkedin have been ad-free in the mobile world, but all of this is about to change soon – and it is inevitable. mobile traffic is rising dramatically, and the likes of Facebook, Linkedin, Google and Twitter are seeing an increasing percentage of usage coming from mobile devices. It will end up dominating, and if your income streams don’t work on mobile, you have a very real problem.
Facebook and Linkedin have made it publicly known that their mobile apps will start to incorporate advertising. Due to the limitations in mobile screen sizes, they are not likely to try and emulate the desktop browser experience, but instead look more likely to inject messages into your news streams. They could go the banner ad route that many free apps use, but studies have shown such marketing to be quite ineffective.
Before we all start revolting at this bombardment of commercial messages though, it’s important to remember that most of us use Facebook and Linkedin for free, and as a consequence, these companies are yet to make real profits. If you want to carry on using these services, we would have to start paying for them, or have someone else start paying for them, and it is the ‘someone else’ route that Facebook and Linkedin have decided upon. It will be interesting to see if paying Linkedin subscribers, which form a small minority of the user base will have the option of hiding the adverts. This could prove to be a valuable reason to pay for your subscription and could be something Facebook may consider in the future. We should certainly expect to see Google Search and Twitter follow suite, watching very closely at the consumer response to the efforts of Facebook and LinkedIn.
There will no doubt be a backlash from the minions of Facebook users who don’t like this but also don’t understand the necessity of it, but we have to start accepting that if we get things that have value for free then someone has to pay for it!