In an interview at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Mark Zuckerberg suggests Facebook will make a lot of money on mobile advertising:Over the long term I also think we’re going to make more money per amount of time that people are spending on mobile, because it has this focus as a device. It’s more like TV, where you’re doing one thing at a time. The advertising and monetizing has to be integrated in, whereas on desktop we kind of reached this equilibrium where there’s the content and then the ads off to the side of it. So I’m really optimistic about that.
Comparing mobile advertising to TV advertising has become a somewhat popular meme in Silicon Valley.
On one level, it makes sense because your attention is focused on your mobile screen. And, five billion people are using mobile devices. So, that’s a big opportunity for an advertiser.
On the other hand, it’s a pointless comparison because a TV screen is 10 times as big as a smartphone screen. A TV ad is also better for telling a real story. Mobile ads, no matter how well integrated into the content, are still on tiny screens and have very little emotional resonance.
Further, mobile advertising is still new. For now, Twitter’s integrated ads seem to be working. And Facebook says its new mobile ad unit is doing well. Over the long run, we’ll see how users react to these ad units.