Facebook App Center, late to the mobile party? close

Kevin Danaher
Kevin Danaher
In Musings, Online Innovation
17th May 2012
Facebook App Center, late to the mobile party?

So, Facebook… The biggest social network in the world right? Universally loved for allowing you to put your life online and share it with your nearest and dearest. Universally hated for using that information to deliver targeted adverts to you and share market information with commercial companies. It’s a fact that most savvy Facebook users are aware of, I’ve talked about it in a previous newsletter in fact, Facebook is a product which you get for free… sort of. In return you are their product, your personal information, tastes, usual behaviours, etc are all up for grabs to any company that can afford it. It’s a fair deal really, the experience of Facebook is certainly worth the exchange of that information, almost a billion other people agree so don’t break into a sweat upon reading the previous sentence.

So with that business strategy in mind the more time you spend on Facebook the more targeted adverts hit you and the more money Facebook are able to make from you. You’ll notice these around the sides of the Facebook experience pretty much everywhere and much like Google’s placed adverts they are often freakishly accurately targeted. In fact I just logged into Facebook and was offered a 5k race and Max Payne videogame, Facebook knows I did a half marathon a few months ago and play games. This isn’t a bad thing per se, I see advertisements I might actually care about, but wait… think for a second. Where do you do the majority of your Facebooking? (Yeah it’s a verb now too.)

If you’re like me (a regular Joe really) then you have a smart phone like half the population does now. This probably means you have a neat little Facebook app that gives you access to the whole experience in a very simple touch-screen manner, customised for that experience and buttery smooth compared to loading the Facebook site in a mobile browser. So how much advertising have you ever seen in your mobile Facebook experience? That would be a big fat zero right.

If you’re an iPhone or Android user you have a pretty slick Facebook app which serves all the functions of the site but would be completely ruined by an advertising panel. I’m a Windows Phone 7 user and although there is a Facebook app it’s a blue moon before I use it as Facebook is tied into the OS all over, I can pop anything straight on Facebook without having to leave my current context, be it a photo, some music, mid messaging conversation, so there’s clearly no room for advertising there either. It seems like a big loss of money if the 3 leading smartphone operating systems can’t generate ad revenue for Facebook. Mobile is big, very big and only getting bigger, vast numbers of people are switching to using a mobile device for the majority of their online life. One look at the graph below will show you how much Facebook’s “page-views