“I think it’s easy for a lot of folks to … really underestimate how fundamentally good mobile is for us.” These were the words of Mark Zuckerberg as he addressed the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, his first public speech since Facebook’s disastrous IPO.
The Facebook founder said the company’s performance on mobile devices has been underestimated. In the past six months, the company has begun inserting ads into the mobile news feed, announced a significant integration with Apple devices, and improved its application for iOS devices.
“Those mobile ads perform better than the regular column ads on desktops,” Zuckerberg said.
More than half of Facebook’s nearly one billion users access the site from mobile devices, but to date, Facebook has struggled to make money from them.
The other area the 28-year-old said his company would be focusing on is search. Facebook has a team working on the social network’s existing search feature, which already garners roughly one billion queries every day, but he said the company would focus its efforts more intently on developing a full-featured search service. With so much personal information on a billion users, Facebook could theoretically build a smart search engine to rival Google and Zuckerberg called it “a big opportunity”.
The young CEO admitted that the recent stock performance was disappointing and that it didn’t help company morale but he didn’t appear too perturbed. He said it was no harm for the company to be in an underdog situation again. “I would rather be in this cycle where people underestimate us,” he said. “It gives us good latitude to go out and take these big bets.”
His comments clearly went down well with investors as shares traded up 3% to more than $20 in after-hours for the first time in nearly a month, although they are still a long way off the IPO price of $38.