Ever since Facebook went public, there has been growing criticism and scrutiny of the biggest social media brand in the world.
Its stock has plummeted — dropping to nearly half its original value — everyone is selling shares, and no one has much good to say about the company’s strategies for mobile or anything else at all, really.
Everyone is waiting, it seems, for this powerhouse to start making money the old fashioned way. With the idea of charging consumers for its online or mobile service a huge long shot, chances are that revenue is going to inevitably come from advertising.
But until now, running ads on Facebook has been an inexpensive yet effective undertaking. With all the personal data collected by Facebook, ads can be easily targeted to a myriad of demographics.
That could change. To start generating real and more revenue, Facebook may have to start charging more for advertising.
That can mean spiked rates for click-throughs or even a charge for page impressions, which could significantly impact marketing budgets.
This could lead to a rough transition with some marketers exiting Facebook for cheaper ground. For others who have found they are getting good results on Facebook, higher costs may lead to fewer but increasingly focused campaigns.
And it may begin an upward trend in online ad rates across platforms — again, a downside for marketers, but a good thing for social media companies, online publishers, bloggers and the like.
Meanwhile, Facebook could introduce advertising spots that synch up more seamlessly with users’ news feeds. This, however, is how ads sometimes appear on the site’s mobile version, which has garnered many complaints.
If Facebook starts doing this, it will have to do it well — but it could offer an opportunity for premium ad space for big campaigns.
Another option for Facebook is following Twitter’s footsteps and begin a data-mining program to sell to third parties. For marketers, this could be a boon: finding out what certain groups are talking about and potentially buying.
Perhaps this is one of the big ideas the company is currently hinting at, but keeping under wraps.
So far, social media has been an inexpensive ride for users and for marketers. That could well change as the publicly owned Facebook moves forward. Are you ready?