Good morning, Quartz readers!
The internet passed a small but important milestone this week. Analysts have long wondered whether internet companies that rely on selling ads can still make money off the tiny mobile screens we’re all increasingly using. Facebook answered with a resounding “yes.” It reported that last quarter it made more than half its ad revenue on mobile devices, and quadrupled that increasing total revenue 63% year-on-year, it quadrupled mobile revenue.
That news buoyed not only Facebook’s shares, but also those of Twitter, which likewise relies on ads. Twitter’s earnings next week—the first since its IPO—will attract intense interest. Further good news on mobile ads could mean that this year we see more hype (and ever wilder valuations) for other firms that rely heavily on mobile, like Pinterest and Snapchat.
But it’s worth keeping some perspective. This week, Nielsen’s latest study on global ad spending revealed that the web still commands a mere 4.5% of the spending on display ads (as opposed to “direct-response” ads, like the text ads that pop up in your search results). Magazines have 10% of that market, and newspapers have 19%.
One reason is that an ad for, say, luxury handbags is more memorable in a magazine spread, TV spot or billboard than in a corner of a computer screen. Clever new online ad formats are constantly being invented (we have some on Quartz), but many are hard to adapt for small mobile screens.
So Facebook’s strong showing only underlines how far there is for mobile ads to go—and why there’s still big money to be made for whoever can create really good ones.—Gideon Lichfield
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The woes of being an emerging-market central banker. As currencies tumble, central bankers are caught in a terrible bind between propping them up and preserving long-term growth, writes Matt Phillips. And this week’s drastic rate hike from Turkey’s central bank probably did more for the bank than for the currency, says Jason Karaian.
Two new ways to think about venture capital. Tim Fernholz argues that it makes as much sense for a VC to invest in a coffee shop as in a tech startup, and venture capitalist Jalak Jobanputra explains that yes, we’re in a valuation bubble, but it’s not like the ones of the past.
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Why modern life may not be too fast, but just right. Tom Vanderbilt in Nautilus explores the intriguing argument that, rather than being too much to cope with, the frenetic pace at which modern technology delivers information to us is actually just catching up to our natural speed of thought.
The Amazon paradox. When the online retailer reported healthy profit this week, markets punished it, because they’d gotten used to its strategy of preferring growth to profit. How it even got them to accept that as a legitimate strategy is a fascinating story, which Matthew Yglesias charts in Slate.
What’s really in your olive oil. In a fun graphic slideshow, Nicholas Blechman in the New York Times explains how a mix of corruption and sharp practices mean that large batches of Italian “extra virgin olive oil” are anything but. (The piece inspired howls from the olive oil industry, and had to incorporate several corrections.)
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