Following months of speculation over Facebook’s ability to monetize mobile, a new report reveals that the social network’s mobile ads are delivering more money and higher engagement rates than desktop ads.

Facebook iPad app

The Global Facebook Advertising Report from TBG Digital found that the click-through rates for Facebook mobile ads were 14 times higher than for desktop ads on average and that the ads are four times more engaging than Twitter ads. Additionally, mobile ads offer strong earning potential for Facebook, which received $9.86 for every thousand mobile ads served, 13 times more than it received for desktop ads.

“The big news from a mobile perspective is that the CTR on the new Facebook mobile ads are 14 times higher than their desktop equivalent,” said Simon Mansell, CEO of TBG Digital, London.

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“The most surprising finding from a mobile perspective was that Facebook mobile ads are 4 times more engaging than Twitter ads,” he said.

“We believe this is because Facebook ads allow for better targeting and are always Sponsored Stories – ads that have a social endorsement.”

Monetizing mobile
The convergence of social and mobile is a hot topic for marketers because of the potential to leverage the viral aspect of social while reaching an audience that is engaged in an activity they enjoy. The ability to reach mobile consumers effectively is also critical as the use of social networks increasingly migrates from desktop to mobile.

However, despite the enthusiasm for mobile social, there has been a lack of success stories.

Recent comments by the CEO of Twitter suggest it is on the road to figuring out how to monetize mobile when he said that the company generates more revenue from mobile than from the Web on many days.


The Facebook App Center.

There have been many questions about Facebook’s ability to generate revenue from mobile as use of the social network continues to migrate to mobile. The company is reportedly readying a new offering that will enable marketers to target consumers based on the apps they use.

While Facebook has been trying to address the concern with new mobile advertising solutions there has been a lack of data so far about how the mobile ads are peforming.  The new report from TBG Digital, which takes a close look at Facebook’s advertising revenue and finds several positive trends, could put some of those questions to rest.

Overall, Facebook is making more money from advertising and seeing higher engagement rates for its ads, two trends that are being driven, in part, by the social network’s introduction of mobile ads, according to the report.

The report found that Facebook’s average cost per thousand impressions, which is an indicator of what Facebook earns per ad served, has increased by a 58 percent over the past 12 months. TBG attributes the increase in CPM to a greater use of Sponsored Stories and the introduction of mobile ads, which provide Facebook with higher earnings.

Mobile ads were also a contributing factor in the rise of Facebook’s ad engagement levels or click-through rate, which increased by 11 percent.

Sponsored stories deliver
The cost per click for Facebook ads rose 13 percent in the United States during the same period and 12 percent in Canada. In Britain, the CPC dropped 2 percent while France and Germany also saw a reduction.

Additionally, TBG found that Sponsored Stories continue to perform better than standards Facebook ads.

The analysis of 13.8 billion impressions during the first half of 2012 show that Sponsored Stories received a 53 percent higher click through rate than standard ads.

The findings point to the need for brands to give Facebook a look as they plan their mobile advertising strategies.

“Every client is different but the research does suggest that Facebook mobile ads should at least be tested,” Mr. Mansell said.

“It should also be noted that Page Post Ads, those ads which are converted from a Facebook Page Post, can also be targeted to mobile so there’s lots of freedom here for engagement, traffic and actions within Facebook and outside of Facebook,” he said.

Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York