A promising ad unit that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company was “cautious” about displaying to users is, meanwhile, being sold to advertisers “full steam ahead,” says the company’s ad sales chief.During a conference call to go over its Q2 numbers, Facebook executives COO Sheryl Sandberg CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and CFO David Ebersman spoke of an ad unit that might be able to re-acelerate Facebook revenues: Sponsored Stories.
Sponsored Stories are ads that go inside Facebook News Feeds on desktop browsers – and, crucially – Facebook mobile apps, which is increasingly the only way Facebook users access the network.
Sandberg said that Sponsored Stories revenues were already averaging $1 million per day, and that half of those sales were on mobile.
CFO David Ebersman said he believed the ad unit would have “a sizable impact on what kinds of performance we can deliver, not just in the second half of the year but over a longer-term horizon because we think this can be, fundamentally, a really important marketing product.”
Despite the early positive signs, Sandberg said Facebook was being “cautious” with the new business. The reason: Facebook wants to make sure the new ad units don’t annoy users.
Do not, however, mistake this caution with users for inaction on the part of Facebook’s ad sales team in terms of pushing the unit on Facebook’s big advertisers.
“Our focus is on stories in the newsfeed,” Facebook VP of ad sales Carolyn Everson tells Business Insider. “They are very effective, visually beautiful and are essential for mobile so we are full steam ahead.”
Facebook is taking major heat from public shareholders for one simple reason: its ad revenues are decelerating at a rate that make the company’s aggressive stock price and market capitalisation seem way out of line.
The tiny ad units on the right hand side of Facebook.com have hit their ceiling.
What Facebook needs is an ad product to get its revenues accelerating again. It sounds like Sponsored Stories are the company’s best hope for one. If only because they were, in a matter of weeks, responsible for turning Facebook into the world’s second biggest mobile ad seller.