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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Data has the power to build or burn brands

A brand can be severely wounded by use or misuse of any of its assets and you could say data has the greatest power of all to inflict damage.

Lucy Acheson

Head of data strategy and customer experience, LIDA

Totto and your inorganic future

At Cannes Lions this year we’ve been treated to many artificial intelligence (AI) insights. It’s one of the major discourses of our time.

Richard Brett

CEO, opr

Personas of one and the rise of ‘always there’ marketing

I’ve got some bad news. The ‘always on’ marketing approach that many companies have only just fully implemented is already out of date.

Nigel Roberts

Founding partner and strategy lead, Yell

Carisoprodol is used for treatment of pain.so it has some amount of drug use it carefully . Get its complete usage and prescription from ...

jensons henry

CMO profile: The strategy behind Cash Converters brand and customer experience reboot

Read more

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quali...

mark Johnson

Digital advertising continues to dominate marketing budgets

Read more

I am a new satisfied customer with the cryptodriven darkwebsolutions company, they helped me with a very efficient crypter for my company...

Yusef

The CX thinking behind Westfield A/NZ's new brand and digital identity

Read more

I enjoyed reading your article. It all starts from creating a persona of your ideal customer. Once you understand the needs then you can ...

Ardie Cash

4 skills needed for a marketer to sit on boards

Read more

A very prestigious list. Cant wait to see who ends up in this years list. Cheers!!

Diganto

CMO50 2018 is now open for submissions

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in