Facebook Heads to Cannes Ad Confab Touting New Mobile Tools

_89938781_reuters_facebookFacebook Inc., the world’s most popular social-media site, plans to introduce new tools to help marketers target consumers and spread their messages via mobile phones, in a bid to encourage more businesses to advertise on portable devices.

The Menlo Park, California-based company, which gets 82 percent of its advertising revenue from mobile, plans to make it possible to create and publish campaigns directly from smartphones. It’s also creating an interface advertisers can use to review campaigns before they’re published on a phone, as well as data tools to create ads based on demographics, search preferences, social media likes and topics.

“We want the ability to build where people are, to approve work and make work for a mobile phone on a mobile phone,’’ Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s chief creative officer, said in an interview. “No one has been able to crack mobile advertising. We’re still just in the beginning of the creative stages of mobile ads.”

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Facebook, which has 1.65 billion users, plans to show off the new features at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity next week, where it will court brands and advertisers keen to learn new techniques for reaching social media users. Tech peers like Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Twitter Inc. are set to descend on the French Riviera, too, handing out gift bags and staging parties with celebrity guests as they angle for a chunk of the $600 billion global ad market.

Mobile will account for 71 percent of digital ad spending and 32 percent of total advertising expenditure by 2020, up from 55 percent and 19 percent estimated for this year, according to researcher eMarketer.

“If a company doesn’t become expert at mobile marketing, they will be at a competitive disadvantage,’’ Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president for global marketing solutions, said in an interview. “The rate of disruption is faster than anything we’ve ever seen and marketers are having to rethink and rewire their business models.’’

The world’s largest advertising companies — including WPP Plc, Publicis Groupe SA, Omnicom Group Inc. and Interpublic Group of Cos. — have been increasing the portion of clients’ spending that they direct to mobile campaigns. WPP last year lifted its overall spending on Facebook to $1 billion from $640 million.

Facebook is making it possible to create and upload to two of its popular ad-building tools, Canvas and Slideshow, entirely from smartphones. The move is aimed at making it easier to develop mobile campaigns in countries where many users access the Internet primarily from mobile phones or other portable devices, rather than PCs.

Canvas, Slideshow

canvasAnyone can start drafting and publishing ad campaigns on Canvas and Slideshow from next week, while the Creative Hub interface will start only for ad agencies, the company said. The data-sifting feature is being tested by a small group of advertisers to start.

One of the biggest drivers of mobile advertising is video, and Facebook users are sharing and creating nearly three times more video on Facebook than a year ago, according to Facebook’s D’Arcy. On Instagram, Facebook’s mobile photo- and video-sharing service, the time people spent watching videos rose by more than 40 percent as of February compared to six months earlier.

Instagram will deliver $1.53 billion in revenue this year, according to eMarketer. The service has 200,000 advertisers, Everson said.

“The majority of people on Instagram are connected to businesses, and they follow people on Facebook more,’’ she said. “We’re still in the earliest days of building it out as a platform for marketers.’’

Source: Bloomberg

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