Facebook has just revived mobile advertising for content marketers

Advertisers on the social network will no longer pay for accidental clicks on ads – a potential game-changer for publishers

As Google and Facebook continue to hoover up the overwhelming majority of digital ad growth, publishers would be forgiven for seeing the oft-cited “duopoly” as the biggest threat to their long-term survival.

But help has come from an unexpected source: Facebook itself.

The social network has pledged to disregard accidental clicks for clients on their Audience Network – meaning advertisers will no longer have to pay for people who inadvertently click on their ads. Basically, Facebook will now define aborted visits from commercial links under two seconds as “non-billable” – a particular issue for advertising housed in-app.

It’s an understandable commercial move on their part. But as well as that, it could end up being a major boost for publishers looking to narrow the gap between mobile and desktop revenues.

It’s a huge change – and they haven’t ruled out further steps aimed at piquing advertisers’ appetites.

A waste of money?

Part of the reluctance of advertisers to deal with mobile is based on the belief that hard-earned clicks are, more often than not, wasted interactions.

Research released by Retale in 2016 suggests that as many as 60% of mobile ad clicks are accidental. So with these interactions now excluded from billing, other challenges surrounding the platform are suddenly easier to contend with.

The issue surrounding mobile cookie usage is one that will continue to dog the format. Lessons learned could help imminent desktop challenges such as new data protection regulations as well as Apple and Google taking that opportunity to clamp down on targeted ads.

As is often the case, Facebook’s new approach will force other publishers to follow a similar model – making mobile a viable commercial prospect for advertisers once again.

An honest conversation

What does this mobile renaissance mean for content marketers? Well, they will need to establish their own tailored approach to mobile – returning focus to oft-neglected user stats based around bounce rate and dwell times.

Nuance in mobile analytics is welcome, and should prompt a more honest discussion surrounding the platform.

Reports treating mobile and desktop independently of one another are a good way to drill into the differences between the two audiences – particularly for a B2B market.

The challenge need not be ‘how to make mobile perform like desktop’, but rather, ‘what can be done to make mobile its own distinct entity?’ Too many lose the latter by trying to chase the former.

A small percentage of B2B publishers give enough thought to their content strategies at weekends and down times – traffic drops of up to 80% are not uncommon. Realistically, mobile is the only way to help bridge the traffic chasm when the office is empty and phones are silent.

This weekend gap is one of the key challenges facing B2B programmatic buyers as they grapple with the idea of John/Jo Smith the business decision maker and John/Jo Smith the consumer. Content marketers would do well to engage in this conversation.

With desktop usage at weekends dropping off, this new lease of life for mobile could encourage a fresh approach to content strategy. When it does, Facebook should get a genuine note of thanks.

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