By Jarrett Streebin
In its eighth acquisition in the last six months, Facebook picked up Seattle-based rel8tion. The startup is only nine months old and still in stealth mode, but it appears to be focused on targeted mobile advertising using location and demographics – data that Facebook has tons of. With 200 million active mobile users globally, and demographics and location on them all, the social media giant is ripe for an ad network of its own.
Facebook already has two location features rolled out, Deals and Places. In addition, it has existing infrastructure with carrier partnerships and mobile apps, including a recently launched app for feature phones that drastically expands its market. These features along with the amount of demographic data that Facebook has on its users could make for a very profitable ad network.
In the next year, we’ll likely see Facebook mobile ads roll out in full. This will provide stiff competition to those in the local deal space, such as Groupon and others. Facebook will also compete with display ad networks that advertise based on search and user check-in, such as Google (GOOG) Offers-AdMob, Where Inc, xAD and other hyper-local advertisers. With Facebook already owning a massive chunk of mobile users’ bandwidth, it appears likely to own a large chunk of the mobile ad and deals space, as well.