Facebook Acquires Hyper-Local Mobile Advertising Startup Rel8tion

Facebook announced today that it has acquired Seattle-based stealth hyper-local mobile advertising startup Rel8tion. The team and technology could help Facebook start to shows ads to its 200 million mobile users.

So far, Facebook has only monetized mobile users through its location-based promotions system Facebook Deals, which shows users and their friends discounts at local businesses when they check-in through Places. With advertising on the web interface generating the bulk of Facebook’s revenues, it is reasonable to believe mobile advertising could become a similarly important stream.

Facebook has been pushing users to list their current city as well as their work place and other personal info lately. This info could be used to power location-based advertising.

Rel8tion’s engineering team will join Facebook’s Seattle office, and one of its founders, Peter Wilson, will become an engineering director. Wilson was formerly formerly a Google engineering director and a long-time Microsoft employee.

Other Rel8tion team members include founder Scott Hannan, previously the VP of Business Development at Pelago — makers of location-based social network Whrrl, and CTO Nat Brown, formerly the CTO of iLike.com and VP of Technology at MySpace’s Seattle office.

One obstacle to monetization of Facebook’s mobile users is that they access the site through a wide variety of interfaces, apps, and devices. Without a consistent space other than the news feed in which to serve ads, Facebook will have to come up with an innovative way to put Rel8tion to work.

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Leave a Reply

4 Responses to “Facebook Acquires Hyper-Local Mobile Advertising Startup Rel8tion”

  1. Top Startup Acquisitions In Month Of January 2011 | Alltopstartups says:

    [...] bought stealth mobile advertising firm. Facebook acquired a stealthy, Seattle based mobile advertising [...]

  2. Quora says:

    What will Facebook do with Beluga and its technology?…

    Mobile is one of the 2 core focuses of Facebook in 2011, the other being HTML5 according to CTO Bret Taylor, and detailed in VentureBeat here (http://venturebeat.com/2011/01/25/facebook-bret-taylor-html5/). I think there’s a huge opportunity for Faceb…

  3. Facebook Mobile Acquisitions « Wir sprechen Online. says:

    [...] goes mobile: acquires Snaptu (apps) after Rel8tion (ads) and Beluga (messaging); [...]

  4. ePayments Week: Facebook's focus on mobile - O'Reilly Radar says:

    [...] On Wednesday Facebook said it had bought Seattle start-up Rel8tion, which (according to All Things D’s Tricia Duryee) has been working on hyperlocal advertising. That term means different things to different people, but at its best, hyperlocal aims to deliver ads and coupons based on geolocation data accurate to three feet or less. As in, you’re standing right in front of what a company wants you to buy. Facebook characterized the purchase as a “talent acquisition.” [...]

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