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

Latest Videos

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

The best part: optimizing your site for SEO enables you to generate high traffic, and hence free B2B lead generation. This is done throug...

Sergiu Alexei

The top 6 content challenges facing B2B firms

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Check out tiny twig for comfy and soft organic baby clothes.

Morgan mendoza

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

NetSuite started out as a cloud-based provider of Enterprise Resource Planning software or as NetSuite solution provider, which companies...

talalyousaf

NetSuite to acquire Bronto's digital marketing platform for US$200m

Read more

Thanks for sharing this post, its really good information I get through this blog.CDPO Online Exam Training

Infosectrain01

3 ways Booking.com is improving its B2B marketing game

Read more

Blog Posts

Getting privacy right in a first-party data world

With continued advances in marketing technology, data privacy continues to play catchup in terms of regulation, safety and use. The laws that do exist are open to interpretation and potential misuse and that has led to consumer mistrust and increasing calls for a stronger regulatory framework to protect personal information.

Furqan Wasif

Head of biddable media, Tug

​Beyond greenwashing: Why brands need to get their house in order first

Environmental, Social and (Corporate) Governance is a hot topic for brands right now. But before you start thinking about doing good, Craig Flanders says you best sort out the basics.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

​The value of collaboration: how to keep it together

Through the ages, from the fields to the factories to the office towers and now to our kitchen tables, collaboration has played a pivotal role in how we live and work. Together. We find partners, live as families, socialise in groups and work as teams. Ultimately, we rely on these collaborative structures to survive and thrive.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in