Facebook founder predicts ad industry will revolve around social media

CANNES: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says the ad industry should “build great products in a social way” in the next year.

Speaking at the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Zuckerberg adds “everything will revolve around people and being social and facilitating is key”.

Zuckerberg also predicts that “everything touched by technology will go through a shift to be people-driven”. He highlighted the increasing use of social gaming applications such as Playfish and Zingo as an indicator of the shift to “people-centric” application development.

He highlighted the growing importance of mobile and says that while the world was seeing its first “crop” of countries with more mobile web than fixed, for example India, he adds that the lack of one universal platorm is holding back development.

During the session, Zuckerberg refused to be drawn on the status of integration of location development on Facebook, a trend many predict will drive the next wave of social networking development. He replied: “We are working on it.”

He also says he is “working on” Japan, Russia, China and Korea, admitting they were countries Facebook does not lead in. He did not face any questions about Facebook-related privacy concerns that have erupted recently.

Zuckerberg laid out his vision during the session at Cannes, hoping to lure reticent advertisers to the social network.

Before the session, Publicis Worldwide chief operating officer Richard Pinder said he thought Zuckerberg’s pitch will hit home if advertisers found it simply and clearly explained the benefits of online advertising.

“Most of the people making the big decisions [in ad spending] are not on Facebook,” says Pinder. “They fear Facebook. Zuckerberg should explain what it is and why it works, and not make them feel bad about it.”

Facebook’s ad spending is currently failing to match its popularity, despite its revenues hitting arout $800 million dollars last year. The ad revenue per user for Facebook is half that of the MSN and Yahoo portals. Enders analyst Ian Maude says Facebook’s relative ad revenue is “way behind” rivals sites when taking into account the large amount of time most users spend on the social network.

This story first appeared on pitch

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