Facebook Mobile Business Sees Growth
MAY 2, 2013 • Mirroring major consumer entertainment trends noticed elsewhere, Facebook is seeing a rising tide of users accessing the social network via smartphones. As part of its most recent quarterly fiscal financial reporting for the period ending March 31, Facebook disclosed that the number of monthly active users accessing the Facebook mobile platform has grown to 751 million, an increase 54% since the same period in 2012. What’s more, those mobile users are now the majority as total monthly active users came in at 1.11 billion (a 23% increase). The surge in mobile users is significant. Only two years ago after the first quarter of 2011, mobile monthly active users were 288 million. Recently Facebook introduced its Home environment for Android phones that feeds users into a personalized Facebook environment as soon as they turn on their mobile devices.
Impact: Several years ago we observed a trend in emerging markets that saw consumers really taking to using their mobile phones as the access point for their social networks. While that trend can be largely attributable to the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones in these markets, the explosion in smartphone ownership worldwide is encouraging a similar preference throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Consumers love their smartphones and are keen on using them for all manner of entertainment, whether it be games or social networks. Thanks to both the HTML 5 and Unity development environments that make true cross-platform gameplay much more common, social game publishers need not see drastically ill effects from this move to smartphones. How marketers monetize Facebook on smartphones is a less clear prospect. There already is much concern on whether advertising via social networks returns acceptable results. Those concerns can only be magnified with Facebook on a smartphone device where it can be expected that sessions will be shorter, as well as user attention spans, compared to computer users. Creating its own environment on Android devices is a smart first step in focusing mobile users on Facebook. What we want to watch carefully is how do people use Facebook on their smartphones differently compared to their computers or tablets.