Photo: Flickr, CC / Kai Hendry
Facebook’s IPO filing with the SEC states that the massive growth in users accessing the social network from mobile devices actually poses a risk to its revenue model, which is heavily dependent on advertising.The company warned in its risks section:
Growth in use of Facebook through our mobile products, where we do not currently display ads, as a substitute for use on personal computers may negatively affect our revenue and financial results.
That risk isn’t trivial. More than 425 million monthly active users access Facebook, and they are the fastest growing bit of the company. Facebook said:
We anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile users will continue to exceed the growth rate of our overall MAUs for the foreseeable future, in part due to our focus on developing mobile products to encourage mobile usage of Facebook.
Although the substantial majority of our mobile users also access and engage with Facebook on personal computers where we display advertising, our users could decide to increasingly access our products primarily through mobile devices.
We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. Accordingly, if users continue to increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, our revenue and financial results may be negatively affected.
Facebook goes on to say, elsewhere in the S-1, that it intends to fix this by including Sponsored Stories in users’ News Feeds:
… we believe that we may have potential future monetization opportunities such as the inclusion of sponsored stories in users’ mobile News Feeds.
Sponsored Stories are text-based ads that appear under users’ status updates whenever the user mentions a brand advertiser on Facebook.
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