Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has told would be investors that making the Facebook Mobile App a more streamline and effective product is his main priority at the moment. With more people than ever using smartphones and accessing sites like Facebook on them, the big question is how the company can make more money with advertising on mobile.
Zuckerberg addressed about 200 investors during the Palo Alto leg of Facebook’s IPO roadshow, answering questions and laying out plans for 2012 and beyond. According to Reuters, the CEO put his focus squarely on improving Facebook’s mobile app. Although Facebook has a strong mobile presence, its app is not monetized the same way as its main platform. The advertising just isn’t there. This has been a major problem for the social network, especially when it comes to competing in mobile-first areas such as location and photo sharing. Facebook users are increasingly accessing the online social network via their mobile devices, a trend the company expects to capitalize on through advertising as it prepares for its IPO.
Data from comScore, which shows that U.S. Facebookers are now accessing the social network more from mobile devices than computers, adds more than a little credence to the idea of Facebook’s mobile users becoming a problem of increasing financial significance for the company. The average U.S. Facebook user spent 441 minutes, or 7 hours and 21 minutes, accessing the social network’s mobile properties in March, according to comScore. For comparison, the average time spent on Facebook via computer in the U.S. was just 391 minutes in the same month, comScore confirmed to VentureBeat. We also know, courtesy of Facebook’s filings with the SEC, that in March Facebook had 488 million mobile monthly active users (MAUs). The figure is up more than 14 percent from December when the company said it had 425 million mobile MAUs.
And, according to comScore, Facebook’s 18-and-up smartphone audience in the U.S. topped 78 million unique visitors in March, meaning the social network reached more than 80 percent of all U.S. adults on mobile in the month. (For those curious, 80 percent accessed Facebook via mobile application and 20 percent through the mobile browser)
“We believe this increased usage of Facebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend of our daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than the increase in the number of ads delivered,” the company warned investors in an amendment to its S-1.
So while the mobile numbers would seemingly represent global reach and social network dominance, they’re also troublesome for Facebook, because more users on mobile means fewer opportunities to serve ads.