Surprise! Social IS Mobile

Woman with phoneYou probably saw the headline in at least one place this past week, “Facebook is Now a Mobile Company.” Yes, in the grand tradition of the social space moving ahead at an unrelenting pace, our working concept of what “social” is must already change.

Many brands and enterprise organization still haven’t caught up to the old concept of social. Now here they are confronted with a fundamental shift in social technologies and how the public wants to use those technologies.

What does it mean that Facebook is now a mobile company?

First, it means the public is increasingly deciding they want to access social networks on mobile devices as opposed to desktop/laptop. 680 million people, 64.2% of Facebook’s users, are using it on phones. For the first time ever, more daily active users are going on Facebook via mobile than desktop.

One infographic nicely summarizes why mobile is where social networks, social marketers, and anyone invested in social data want to be. Users are researching products on mobile while they’re in a store. They’re searching for local info, then calling or visiting brick and mortars afterward. They’re buying things on tablet and smartphone.

So Facebook had/has two pressing tasks; improve the mobile experience so users stick around longer, and capitalize on the revenue growth potential mobile offers…without tainting that positive user experience.

Moving away from the one-size-fits-all HTML5, the network focused on app design for each mobile operating system to maximize speed and features. In a year, they went from fewer than 24 mobile app engineers to hundreds. On-campus classes are held on Droid and iOS mobile operating systems. Mobile traffic responded positively to the new focus.

Now for the revenue part. Mobile beats every other kind of Facebook advertising when it comes to engagement. Average CTRs on mobile News Feed ads hit 1.738% compared to 1.254% on desktop, while overall mobile CTRs went up 34% for the quarter. The power of a smooth-running app presenting relevant value to customers wherever they are helped Facebook’s mobile revenue go from 14% to 23% quarter to quarter.

Questions remain. Can Facebook pull in mobile ad network buyers and close the gap with Google, with its 57% share of the US mobile ad market according to eMarketer? Can they find the sweet spot of how many mobile News Feed ads users will tolerate? Will App Install Ads, now used by 20% of the top 100 grossing iOS apps, keep growing? And can Facebook excel at creating its own mobile-first experiences like Poke?

Let Facebook worry about that.

All you need to know is none of this would be happening if the public weren’t broadcasting their intentions to use social on mobile, where they’re more likely to reward your presence there with engagement.

Adjust your mobile strategy accordingly, and make sure you’ve got an integrated socially enabled enterprise system by your side to wow those mobile customers and maximize the data they’re offering you.

@mikestiles
Photo: Ambro, freedigitalphotos.net

Comments:

It's not social which is inherently mobile, it´s people using social who are inherently mobile.
Moreover for those people, using social is becoming THE way to go online and going online means using mobile: "I want to go online using my mobile therefore i want to use social on my mobile".
It's not about people deciding that social is better experienced on mobile, it's about people wanting to go online (and therefore using social) on their mobile.
The difference may be thin, but in my mind it is closer to the way people actually experience social and mobile.

Posted by Jeremy M on February 03, 2013 at 02:35 PM EST #

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