Facebook Home goes after mobile market

A year after calling mobile a 'risk,' Facebook pushes forward with mobility efforts

Less than a year after Facebook called mobile one of its biggest risks, the social network has made another big move to attack the mobile market.

On 4 April, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and CEO, unveiled a launcher, called Home, for the Android platform. The home screen and app family will sit on top - and not replace - the Android operating system.

While many had speculated - again - that Facebook was going to unveil its own smartphone, Zuckerberg made it clear he's focused on making people's mobile phones more social - not creating a whole new phone or diving into the hardware market.

"We want to bring you this experience of knowing what's going on around you right on your phone," he said during a news event to announce Home. "The home screen is really the soul of your phone. You look at it about 100 times a day. It sets the tone for your whole experience."

That's a big advance into mobile for a company that just last spring listed mobility among its ‘risk factors’ in an amended filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, The company admitted the quickening shift from traditional desktop or laptop computers to mobile devices was hurting Facebook's advertising plan, since it had no way to monetise this growing mobile trend.

Mobile has been a tough nut to crack, not just for Facebook but for all companies. However, given Facebook's massive popularity and 1-billion-member user base, it was a very visible problem for the world's largest social network.

Those days are over, according to Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner.

"I think they got [mobile] a while ago, but what you're seeing now is them optimising their experience," he said. "I think this is one in a step of many moves to attack the mobile market with their full ferocity."

Facebook has been strategically focused on mobile for several quarters now. In 2012, the company finalised its acquisition of Instagram, a popular photo-sharing app, redesigned its iOS app and delivered new development tools for iOS and Android. In January, executives speaking during the company's fourth-quarter and year-end earnings meeting, called Facebook a "mobile company" and noted that the number of Facebook's monthly active mobile users jumped 57% from a year earlier to 680 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Facebook reported that it had more users accessing the network from mobile devices than from the Web.

Company executives also were quick to point out that mobile accounted for 23% of Facebook's ad revenue in the last quarter of 2012. That's up from 14% in the third quarter and zero at the beginning of last year.

To add an Android launcher to that mix should only help Facebook work its way further into the mobile market.

"This goes a long way to helping Facebook deal with this mobile issue," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "At least from what I've seen so far, it's a good step in the right direction.... I think it's the only road for them to go down."

Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, said this is a smart move for Facebook. But he doesn't envision a majority of Android users will download the new home screen.

"While I think Home will be a success, I don't think the majority of wireless users will be interested in this full time, always on, Facebook connection," he said. "But this will help Facebook continue to grow.... Mobile is a revolution in industry after industry. Today we never leave the house without our wallet, car keys and wireless phone. That's the direction we are moving in with wireless. And that's the future Facebook wants to be a leader in."

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Un-complicating multi-channel marketing: 5 actionable steps

There’s so much choice available that customers can pick and choose who they buy from and where, when, and how it happens. They want to discover, research, evaluate, and purchase on their preferred channel. Give them that option, and they’re more likely to choose you. That’s the whole point behind the multi-channel approach.

Aaron Agius

Co-founder and managing director, Louder Online

People in vegan houses shouldn't throw bacon

Picture this. You’re at a Gourmerican burger joint chomping a cheeseburger, when an outspoken vegan friend starts preaching that you’re killing the planet. Last week, that same vegan downed a pricey glass of pinot before their flight to a far-flung destination, armed with their strongest mossie repellant and first aid kit. Anything amiss?

Abbie Love

Strategist, Ikon Communications

The role of the CMO is evolving: Are you keeping up?

My (amazing) vacation in the Galapagos Islands earlier in the year got me thinking about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. What does this have to do with the role of today’s CMO, you ask? Plenty.

Sheryl Pattek

Vice-president, executive partner

It’s excellent aiming to resurrect the complete within the hearts and minds of connected customers, moreover because the terribly relevan...


CMO Interview: How Kodak’s global CMO is bringing the brand back from the brink

Read more

Great to see ActiveCampaign's growth funded with some serious money.As a platform, it's up there with the usual suspects in terms of feat...

Lawrence Ladomery

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 13 October

Read more


Kerry Edwards

Open Colleges taps into social for better student interaction

Read more

Or just go to sites like www.shopsthatshiptoaustralia.c... and others and be sure that the stores will send to where you live :-)


Why online shopping is like dating – RedBalloon CEO

Read more

Personalisation is the key. Customers demand a very relatable and well defined CX where the sincerity and understanding of their disposit...

Hitesh Parekh

In pictures: Improving cutomer experiences through smart personalisation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in