Head of mobile products at Facebook Erick Tseng said just a few weeks ago that Facebook will "become a mobile company." And based on recent announcements it appears that's precisely where they're headed and mobile marketing and mobile advertising folks would be wise to pay close attention.
Back in July Facebook announced the creation of a non-smartphone app called "Facebook for Every Phone." The app is compatible with 2,500 different feature phones or non-smartphones and provides these folks with a similar experience to smartphone users, offering standard Facebook features like the News Feed and Inbox but also letting users upload photos and find friends from their phone contacts. Briliiant idea for not all of us have smartphones but many of us love Facebook and love to share and post and "Like" our favorite brands.
And just yesterday, Facebook made a major move to becoming a mobile company by announcing a whole array of changes all aimed at making the Facebook user experience more seamless via mobile. Facebook engineer Luke Shepard, in a post on Facebook's developer's blog said: "Today, we are extending Facebook Platform on mobile, bringing all the social channels that have helped apps and games reach hundreds of millions of users on the Web to mobile apps and websites. You can now easily reach the 350 million people who use Facebook every month on a mobile device, including iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and our mobile web site."
Did you catch that number marketers and advertisers? 350 million people use Facebook every month via a mobile device.
Perhaps the biggest news deals with the announcement of the long-awaited Facebook iPad application. This of course is huge news considering the growing popularity of tablets. According to technology market research firm Infonetics Research, The number of mobile broadband-enabled tablets (e.g., Apple iPad, Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry PlayBook, HP TouchPad, etc.) sold in the second quarter versus the first quarter jumped 80%, with 14 million tablets sold worldwide in 2Q11. And you can be damn sure these numbers are only going to go up.
As of right now, the iPad Facebook app will not include any advertising but... you know that's just a matter of time as the folks at Click Z put it "...with high-end marketers' interest in tablet ads only growing, it would seem logical that Facebook will waste little time offering advertisers regular placements on its iPad app."
As far as the new Facebook mobile features, they include social channels like bookmarks, news feed and friend requests, all of which make it easier for users to discover and share third-party apps with friends. Facebook also announced it was extending its payment system Facebook Credits to support mobile web apps, although Facebook said they are not allowed in iOS apps or mobile web apps that run within a Facebook iOS app.
As to what the future holds for Facebook and mobile marketing, Shepard said "We are at the beginning of bringing Facebook Platform apps to mobile. The features we are launching today are still under development. They will evolve as we learn more about building richer social experiences on mobile devices. In addition, we will extend our native support for more mobile platforms such as Android in the near future. We are excited to see what you (developers) will build with these features today and look forward to working with you as we improve these features."
This is indeed a very exciting time for not only those of us who use Facebook via our moble app - and apparently there's a lot of us but also for marketers and advertisers. Just imagine the possibilities you now have to reach these 350 million consumers who use Facebook every single month through their mobile phone in addition to the 850 million who use Facebook via more "traditional" web-based methods.
Facebook sees the future and knows that it's a mobile future and I would expect more enhancements to their mobile arsenal and I would equally expect Google and Twitter and ALL social media platforms to up their mobile marketing capabilities as well.
I've said it before and I will absolutely take this opportunity to say it agian.... Mobile marketing and mobile advertising is here, it's not going anywhere and marketers ad advertisers better learn to deal with it.
I would be remiss if I didn't share just "some" of my posts in which I sing the praisers of mobile marketing:
- The Rapid Rise Of Mobile Advertising And mCommerce
- Another Reason Why Marketers Need To Be Mobile
- Why Marketers Need To Get In The Game Of Online Games And Mobile Games
- Even More Proof Of The Importance Of Mobile Marketing And Mobile Advertising