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Facebook says Onavo will boost mobile ad potential and reduce the amount of mobile data for those accessing Facebook via mobile devices

Facebook says Onavo will boost mobile ad potential and reduce mobile data usage for those accessing Facebook via mobile devices

Social media giant Facebook has acquired Onavo, an Israeli-based startup that specialises in mobile data compression technologies, for an undisclosed sum.  The company says the move will bolster its efforts to make the internet more efficient and affordable and strengthen its mobile ad platform.

Tel Aviv-based Onavo was founded in 2010 and develops mobile applications for iOS and Android which compresses mobile data as it downloads to devices, helping internet users reduce their data usage by a factor of up to five according to the company. It also offers cloud-based mobile market intelligence services and analytics based on mobile engagement data.

While the terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed reports suggest the deal fetched between $100 and $200m.

Writing on the company’s blog Onavo co-founder and chief executive officer Guy Rosen said its services will complement Facebook’s efforts with the internet.org project, an initiative the social media giant launched in August this year along with a number of networking equipment manufacturers to improve the efficiency of mobile networks and reduce the cost of internet connectivity.

“As you know, Facebook and other mobile technology leaders recently launched Internet.org, formalizing Facebook’s commitment to improving access to the internet for the next five billion people — this is a challenge we’re also passionate about,” Rosen wrote.

“We’re excited to join their team, and hope to play a critical role in reaching one of Internet.org’s most significant goals – using data more efficiently, so that more people around the world can connect and share,” Rosen added. “When the transaction closes, we plan to continue running the Onavo mobile utility apps as a standalone brand. As always, we remain committed to the privacy of people who use our application and that commitment will not change.”

According to Facebook, Onavo will become Facebook’s new Israeli office once the acquisition is concluded.

It’s likely that Onavo’s technology will be put to work strengthening Facebook’s mobile advertising strategy, an area the company is keen to bolster as it works to close the gap between it and Google, which currently leads the mobile advertising space by a clear margin. According to Facebook over 40 per cent of its advertising revenue comes from mobile, and Onavo’s analytics tools – which provides insight into how often and for how long users engage with mobile applications – will help the company improve its mobile advertising capabilities.

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