advertising

More New Year’s resolutions for 2013 and sacrifices for Lent involve cutting down on Facebook.

More than a quarter of US Facebook users said they planned to spend less time on the social network in the coming year, according to new survey results released Tuesday. And almost two-thirds said they have taken a “Facebook Vacation” in the past, logging off the social network for several weeks at a time to get a break from their friends’ gossip and dinner reports.

Being “too busy” was the number one reason for taking the hiatus, while concerns about privacy and advertising ranked low in the explanations offered to surveyors from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. 

Wall Street is predicting a good showing from Facebook on Wednesday when it reports financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, and the full year.

Investor sentiment towards Facebook appears to have shifted towards a cautious optimism in the last quarter, with the company’s stock price rising back above $30 for the first time since its initial public offering in May, when shares were priced at $38, then quickly fell below $20.

Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group predicts the stock will pop after the next couple of earnings reports, then “come back to earth” as the market better understands the company.

This quarter, Facebook’s revenues will reflect advertising purchases related to the November presidential election and the holiday shopping season. Analysts are expecting the social network to report earnings per share of 15 cents on $1.53bn of revenue. For the full year, estimates average at 52 cents earnings per share on $5.03bn in revenue. 

Robert Cookson

Getty Images, the world’s largest supplier of stock photos, has formed partnerships with two start-ups that help publishers transform online images into interactive adverts and virtual shopfronts.

The deals mark a big step forward for a new, highly-targeted form of advertising that Getty expects will become a significant source of revenues for news and magazine publishers. 

The increasing number of people using Facebook on mobile phones is driving revenues for the operators of the mobile networks, as people accumulate charges on their phone bills by scrolling through their newsfeed, and then calling their friends.

Vaughan Smith, Facebook’s vice president for mobile partnerships and corporate development, said that the company’s analyses show that Facebook users make 40 per cent more phone calls than non-Facebook users, and that the primary reason people are signing up for data connections on their mobile devices is to use Facebook. 

Tim Bradshaw

General Motors’ pullback from Facebook ads in May became a touchstone moment for doubts about the social network’s business model, just before it went public.

But as we report in today’s FT analysis of the growing turf war in the social networking market, GM has been spending money on Twitter for two years – and is now “beyond experimenting” with ads there. 

Facebook launched a new mobile advertising product for app developers that pushes more marketing content into users’ home pages amid investor pressure on the company to expand revenue channels.

The new ads will appear in people’s mobile newsfeeds, and, if clicked, will direct users to the Apple or Google Play app store to download the promoted mobile app. Facebook gets paid every time a user clicks on an ad. 

The Securities and Exchange Commission published letters it exchanged with Facebook leading up to its IPO, revealing details of the US regulator’s concerns over the social network’s mobile business strategy, its dependence on Zynga, and how it presented its advertising model.

The correspondence was made public on Friday, a routine disclosure, and showed similarly routine questioning. Facebook responded to all questions in amended filings before the public offering on May 18.

“I know that everyone wants to paint Facebook as evil because their shares have gone down,” said Michael Pachter, a technology analyst at Wedbush. “These questions are completely reasonable questions, each of these.” 

Facebook said the migration of its users to mobile platforms is compromising its ability to make money from them, according to additions the company made to its IPO regulatory filing on Wednesday.

As the company fields questions from potential investors this week and next on its road show, Facebook is once again reiterating its philosophy of prioritising the user experience over generating revenue, particularly when it comes to its mobile offerings. 

Maija Palmer

As UK companies scramble to comply with new laws requiring them to disclose and get permission for all the cookies they use, a new study has found that more than two thirds of all the bits of tracker code on websites are from third parties. Which means they are essentially for delivering targeted advertising or analysing behaviour across the website.

It helps explain why compliance with the new cookie laws has been so slow and difficult for many companies. It is very likely they don’t want to broadcast to the world just how many different organisations are grabbing data about their customers.  

Maija Palmer

For once it was not shopping and e-commerce that dominated that European VC funding rounds.

In March, financial services were the flavour of the month, with eToro and The Currency Cloud attracting investment. Both of them seek to disrupt the financial services sector by using either social networking or cloud computing to jazz up a staid industry.

Advertising solutions are also finding willing backers, including personalised online ads from MyThings and advertising to wrap around Android apps from StartApp .