Facebook's response to the market's demand that they "up" their game has been to focus on mobile as the driver for advertising growth which makes sense. As Marc Poirier, co-founder and CMO of Acquisio, a leading media platform for some of the world's largest marketing and advertising agencies, points out, on mobile "the clickthrough rates are ten times better than the desktop" but he feels that what we're seeing is "Yahoo all over again."
Marc's problem with Facebook's advertising strategy is that he contends they have failed to listen to what advertisers want and ignored the Internet Advertising Board's standards for ad specifications making it hard for advertisers to use the opportunity that Facebook should provide.
When it comes to the question of whether Facebook can find the unicorn -- the killer revenue generator I discussed in the previous column -- Marc is far more optimistic than I am: He rates the probability of unicorn finding at 40% compared to my 1% (Marc, did we make a bet on this? I'll put 50 bones on no unicorn in the next 12 months ... we on?)
As for Twitter, which is still privately held, its profitability is as yet unknown. But it's obvious that the pressure to improve revenue is huge because the company has recently been doing something that could only be explained by them as rethinking where the money might come from: They've made it so that third-party apps that interact with Twitter have either no access or reduced functionality.
Given that it was the third party application market that was responsible for much of Twitter's growth and success this looks a lot like biting the hand that feeds you but Twitter apparently doesn't care.
Twitter's CEO, Dick Costello, commented on the Charlie Rose Show:
"The future of Twitter is that we'll have a true platform...not just an API that allows developers to create an alternate Twitter experience, but an API that allows third parties to build on top of Twitter in a way that creates accretive value for the user, much how Amazon allowed third-party merchants to build into Amazon."
"True platform"? "Accretive value for the user"? What nonsense. Weasel words to cover up what is a social media land grab ... Twitter is simply trying to make the way the service is accessed and the user-generate content their own exclusive territory.