28 October 2016
Dan Neary says making Facebook ads more relevant and effective is a key mission for the company next year. Photo: EJ Insight
Dan Neary says making Facebook ads more relevant and effective is a key mission for the company next year. Photo: EJ Insight

Facebook: Instant Articles revenue split in HK yet to be decided

Facebook has yet to decide how it will split revenue from advertising with Hong Kong publishers that directly contribute their content to the social media’s Instant Articles section, a senior manager said.

“In general, if you as a publisher sell those ads directly, you can keep all of the revenue,” Dan Neary, the social media giant’s vice president for the Asia-Pacific, said at a media briefing Tuesday in Hong Kong.

“If you choose to have Facebook sell those ads, we will take a larger cut.”

Neary said Instant Articles is still at a pilot stage and more details will be announced later.

On Dec. 3, Facebook launched a Hong Kong service that allows media companies faster delivery of their content on the social media platform. Publishers can sell their own ads, or they can monetize unsold inventory with display ads from Facebook’s Audience Network.

The company has signed up several media partners, including Ming Pao Daily, for a trial run

“Facebook does not censor any of the materials that go up. If somebody puts up content that violates our community policy, it will be taken down,” Neary said.

Next year, the company will increase its efforts to capitalize on the shift to mobile, especially in Hong Kong, where 91 percent of Facebook users visit the platform through mobile devices, compared with 89 percent globally, he said.

At the end of this year’s third quarter, the number of monthly active Facebook users in Hong Kong totalled 4.7 million, and mobile monthly active users amounted to 4.3 million. 

There are 3.4 million daily active users in the city, 3.1 million of whom visit the platform through mobile devices.

“We believe that Facebook is a place for people to discover content,” Neary said.

“People discover video on Facebook more than any other platform in the world.

“Making it easier for people to watch videos on Facebook is one of the company’s key goals in 2016.”

Growth in Asia-Pacific

With regard to Facebook’s strategies in the Asia-Pacific region, Neary said, “Different markets have different characteristics”.

From an advertising standpoint, Australia is a very established market for Facebook, because of its high penetration rate, he said. 

“Asia is Facebook’s largest market in terms of user base and is the fastest-growing region,” Neary said. 

“This is also where the company sees the next billion users and where most of the business growth will come from.” 

South Korea and Japan are two “sophisticated markets” in the region, he said.

India presents an enormous opportunity, as it still has a billion people unconnected, while other emerging markets, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, also offer strong potential, Neary said.

“For China, we focus on those businesses that are producing items in the country and would like to market them to the rest of the world,” he said.

“We have spent a lot of time to learn about China, but there is no new announcement beyond that.”

Mainland Chinese netizens had access to Facebook until it was banned in 2009 by the authorities, who feared it might be used as a platform by dissidents and human rights activists to rally public support.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met Xi Jinping in Seattle during the Chinese president’s trip to the United States in September. Zuckerberg spoke with him in fluent Mandarin during their conversation. 

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Facebook now has 1.55 billion users. Photo: EJ Insight

About 69 percent of Facebook users access the social media platform every day. Photo: EJ Insight

Hong Kong’s Facebook users are more engaged with their mobile devices than their global peers. Photo: EJ Insight

Next year, Facebook will continue to push forward page improvements and launch new products for users. Photo: EJ Insight

Chief reporter at EJ Insight

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