Facebook is readying first move into mobile advertising

It is the big hole in Facebook. Mobile is the fastest growing way that many access social media, even more so in 2012 as cheap smartphones become ever more available, but the social network has until now had no way of making money out of those millions of mobile connections.

That will apparently change in March, according to a Bloomberg report, as Facebook considers putting its Sponsored Stories ads onto mobile versions of Facebook for the first time.

Facebook has been looking at this for a while, but has so far failed to move on it. However, with its initial public offering beckoning in 2012, which will value it at $100bn, it has to have an answer ready for investors as to how it will make money out of the mobile market. Twitter needs one also.

Until now social networking users have all enjoyed ad free social networking. What’s important is that with small screens commercial messages have to be subtle so as not to push people away from what for most will eventually be their preferred way to use social networks. Sponsored Stories are a good way of approaching mobile advertising because they blend into news feeds. It will be interesting to see how it plays out as the revenue potential here is huge.

“Facebook Inc. plans its first push into mobile advertising by the end of March, giving the company a fresh source of revenue ahead of a possible initial public offering, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

“An idea being considered is putting Facebook’s Sponsored Stories ads, which feature friends’ interactions with brands, within the mobile News Feed, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans aren’t public. The News Feed lets users view status updates, photos and other content,” Bloomberg reports.

Interesting to see that news of this comes around the same time we were recently hearing about the Facebook mobile phone.

The secret Facebook phone project was amusingly codenamed Buffy. Facebook is reported to have teamed up with HTC to be build a modified Android to create a fully integrated Facebook experience and obviously slay rivals in the process.