After an onslaught of bad news, Facebook finally had some good headlines today thanks to a new effort to expand its mobile offerings. First introduced this past March, Facebook mobile ads had previously only been made available to big moneyed companies with big communities (500,000 friends or more) that were willing and able to purchase premium ad packages. This wasn’t a beta trial, this was an intentional limitation on the mobile platform that has contributed very little to the company’s bottom line. Perhaps in an attempt to distract from the bungled IPO, perhaps because they realized how much revenue could come of the expansion (some analysts predict up to $4.5 billion this year in the U.S. alone), Facebook has now made mobile ads fair game for all interested advertisers, regardless of wallet-size or fan base.
Coincidentally, Facebook couldn’t have chosen a better news day to go public with this change: also released today, a new study by Ericsson that projects by 2017, 85 percent of the world will have access to mobile high-speed 3G internet, and 50 percent to high-speed 4G internet. Couple this with the rise in smartphone ownership and Facebook’s continued global mobile popularity (approximately 500 million strong) and you’ve finally got an answer to the monetization question that has been a thorn in Mark Zuckerberg’s side for years.