June 5, 2012, 2:11 PM

Facebook lets marketers more finely target mobile users

The social network allows advertisers to place an ad in users’ mobile news feeds.

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Facebook Inc. is diversifying its advertising options.

The social network today began allowing marketers to select whether the Sponsored Stories ads they buy appear in consumers’ news feeds on a mobile device, desktop or a combination of the two. The news feed is the first page a consumer sees when logging on to the social network. Sponsored Stories enable advertisers to highlight posts or actions, such as when a consumer’s Facebook friend Likes a product, checks into a store, plays a game or uses a Facebook application. Marketers previously could not select where their Sponsored Stories would appear.

The move gives advertisers more control over their advertising on the social network.

“Facebook is always looking for ways to improve products and has responded to requests from marketers to control the placement of their Sponsored Stories,” a spokeswoman for the social network says. “As companies are promoting services more frequently on mobile, this option gives them the opportunity to focus on specific placements that will impact them most directly.”

Facebook has a limited track record with mobile ads. The social network in February began placing Sponsored Stories in users’ mobile news feeds. Prior to that, it didn’t have a single mobile advertising unit. However, Facebook is increasingly focused on mobile, with its $1 billion deal to purchase Instagram and its recent acquisitions of research and design firm Bolt Peters, social gifting company Karma and mobile loyalty company Tagtile have all had a mobile perspective.

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