At its press event today, Facebook announced that while its Home launcher tool for Android does not currently contain advertisements, that it will eventually, and Cover Feed itself – the core of Home according to the company – will sport ads.
The key quotes from Zuckerberg himself were that “there are no ads in this yet. I’m sure at some point there will be.” The company went on to directly implicate Cover Feed as a location where ads will be displayed.
The inclusion of advertisements in Home may help Facebook better monetize its mobile usage, a part of its business model that has made investors skittish; following its IPO, Facebook’s mobile growth and low mobile income were considered long-term risks for the company.
Obviously, ads on the home screen of a device will likely be a controversial topic, but it’s not the firs time we’ve seen this. Amazon’s Kindle devices, for instance, come in ad-supported flavors that display ads about books and other products in return for a lower up-front cost. Since Facebook will be depending on ongoing income from these ads, it’s unlikely that they’ll offer the same kind of ‘upgrade-to-remove-ads’ feature that Amazon will, but the model isn’t without precedent.
And we shouldn’t leave out the data. The data that Facebook will be privy to with regards to all of your conversations via Chat Heads and everything you share through Home, something that it hopes you will access 100 times a day or more, will go towards better targeting and sales of ads. As Facebook grows the accuracy with which it can send ads out, it also increases its revenue flow.
Either way, it’s likely that deploying ads into the social feed of Facebook home is likely to be a touchy subject at best. This will be interesting.