As for the timing of the news, Pope noted “Twitter’s news could have also provided a sense of urgency to move faster.”
Agencies, Pope added are excited at the prospect of Facebook launching a mobile ad network. “Facebook is one of the few publishers that has really excellent first-party data, including not only registration data but also behavioral data,” he noted. “Twitter also has a lot of great social signals that can be aggregated but Facebook has a little more depth into the demographic info. What will be interesting is if Facebook follows Twitter’s footsteps and buys an ad network to bring them even closer to the inventory. That would be a whole new business for them.”
Facebook is expected to capture 15.8% of global mobile ad revenue this year, up from 5.4% in 2012, according to eMarketer. A mobile ad network could give the Menlo Park company a gigantic stream of new revenue by opening it up to the mobile web and app ecosystem.
Google of course remains on top and is forecast to take 53.2% of the market this year, up from 52.4% in 2012.
News about Facebook’s tests follows on the heels of Twitter's recent efforts to boost its own mobile ad-serving and targeting capabilities. Twitter recently acquired the mobile ad server and real-time bidding exchange provider MoPub for $350 million. Once the acquisition is complete, Twitter will have access to non-Twitter mobile properties. Twitter is expected to combine its extensive user data with MoPub’s ad serving capabilities to better target customers on apps and websites. Twitter is also preparing to go public, reportedly before Thanksgiving, according to Reuters, and is looking to raise $1 billion in its public offering.