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Facebook May Not Be Into Mobile Ads Yet, But Plenty Of Others Are

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Mobile advertising may not yet be something that Facebook has explored in its strategy to monetize its massive user base, and given the growth we’ve seen in the space, you can argue that it might be missing a trick.

What’s interesting is that while companies like Google are certainly making huge strides in mobile advertising (more on that below), there are a number of mid-range/smaller players that are also seeing significant growth, in a market that eMarketer projects will be worth $2.6 billion in 2012.

The implication here is that there is an opportunity, and one that is engaging users — or at least users are showing a great tolerance for the ads, as a tradeoff for other content. That opportunity is one that is being taken not just obvious Facebook competitors like Google, but many others.

Longer term that kind of fragmentation will probably lead to more consolidation, but for now as individual companies they continue to grow (and get funded, if you take the latest numbers from Rutberg on VC investments as an indication).

Here’s three examples of that growth from just the past day:

Today, mobile ad network Mojiva is claiming that it (not Google, not Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), not Millennial Media) has become the first mobile ad network to reach more than one billion unique mobile devices — smart phones, feature phones, tablets and touch screen devices such like the iPod Touch — globally on a monthly basis. It says that the U.S. is its single-biggest market, with 224 million monthly unique devices, within a reach that extends to 190 countries, covering 8,000 publishers and apps, with more than 45 billion monthly ad requests overall. (Note: we’re hoping to catch up with Mojiva to get clarification on how it has reached the one-billion mark before bigger competitors.)

That news comes on the back of a couple of other significant mobile ad milestones announced in just the last 24 hours — again some of the smaller players. Inneractive, a mobile app monetization exchange, says that in the last year it has seen some very significant growth on its own mobile network: ad clicks are up by more than 700 percent; ad requests up by nearly 700 percent; a 981 percent increase on Apple’s iOS platform ad requests; and ad revenues up by 522 percent. We’ve asked Inneractive if we can get more concrete numbers behind those percentages. In the meantime, there’s an infographic below with more details on their growth in the last year, including geographical breakdowns.

A third player, Jumptap, has some numbers specifically around how mobile advertising is playing out across tablets — again, using stats from its own ad network: tablet network traffic was up by 229 percent the day after Christmas compared to the same period a year ago. Over the whole of that month, apparently the Kindle Fire’s share on Jumptap’s network went up from 10 percent to 30 percent suggesting “a trend for lower-priced tablets.” And overall, it notes that Android has the majority of impressions on its network (up to 59 percent in December 2011, compared to 38 percent in December 2010), with Apple’s share diminishing further (down seven percent to 22 percent in December 2011).

And what about Google? (NSDQ: GOOG) It seems that for now its biggest strength in mobile advertising remains in mobile search, where it expects revenues to more than double in 2012 compared to 2011, bringing in sales of $5.8 billion compared to $2.5 billion last year — just under double the revenue that Facebook made in advertising on its main, non-mobile site last year.