In the battle for supremacy over mobile, Mark Zuckerberge has just executed the audible of all audible with Facebook Home. Speculation over whether Facebook would develop its own mobile device to compete with Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Nexus and the Samsung Galaxy, were all subsided when Zuckerberge launched Facebook Home on April 12th.
As he stated in his release of the strategically branded collection of social mobile apps, “we’re not building a phone, and we’re not building an operating system. A great phone might sell 10 or 20 million units. Our user base is at about a billion.”
Zuckerberge goes on to point out that a mobile device would have only targeted 2% of Facebook’s current consumer base and with Facebook Home seemingly being a free-to-download application, currently most suited for android but soon to be available for all mobile users, it targets 680 million Facebook mobile users. So what does this all mean for marketers?
Despite what Facebook’s young CEO argues about their new launch not being an operating system, Facebook Home is essentially software that allows the social network insight into every aspect of an individual’s mobile device, from how it’s used, to what applications are downloaded, The software seamilessly integrates with standard Android phone operations, as to make one’s presence on Facebook collaborative with all other activities.
It’s self explanatory why this would be a goldmine to advertisers and marketers, but does the platform have the potential to be too aggressive? The chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, Jan Dawson noted that, “Facebook’s objectives and users’ are once again in conflict. Users don’t want more advertising or tracking, and Facebook wants to do more of both.”
According to EMarketer in 2012 Facebook earned $391 million in U.S. mobile ad revenue alone, and they estimate with the launch of Facebook Home, the infamous social network giant will bring in $965 million in 2013. Zuckerberg did note that Facebook Home currently has no ads. As Facebook’s core business model revolves around their ability to track user behavior and then sell that information to advertisers, many analyst point out how Facebook Home’s newly acquired positioning in the mobile sector only further ignites anti-Facebook evasion of privacy rhetoric, by those who argue Facebook is really Skynet from the Terminator saga bringing about the rise of the machines.
Google isn’t exactly sitting on their palms while Facebook changes the culture of mobile engagement. In fact, it could be argued Google has responded with its own marketing plot twist through the developer beta launch of its Google Glass mobile device. A pair of eyeglasses capable of searching the web, while recording video, while translating speech, all while using face recognition software to identify passersby, the Terminator reference used earlier might not be too far off.