Different news outlets have been discussing if Facebook is weak in mobile, and that it needs to do more to address this issue.
The question here is, if Facebook is actually really weak in mobile.
As we have analyzed on Socialbakers, Facebook has 488m mobile users. Most of the traffic actually on smartphones, where you can also build interesting mini-applications, games, and other things.
If we would identify three key issues that Facebook mobile has, there would be three categories and angles to looking at the state of Facebook mobile:
1) Features and innovations
Facebook has created a mobile platform and a mobile Connect platform. Thats probably the best thing it ever did, allowing companies like Instagram to actually grow, having to then buy them for 1bn in equity and cash.
That allows other companies to create innovation on Facebook’s behalf, and then Facebook potentially snagging the talent or buy (Gowalla, …).
Until today, there was also no way of discovering apps other than from the newsfeed. With the new Facebook app store, that gets solved, and a lot can be addressed with that.
Facebook has had some rough moments with its mobile experience. It started off quite low-end and it built up from there.
The current iPhone version of Facebook is nice, but the experience is horribly slow and needs a lot of work. It doesn’t help, that the experience is a little different on every platform.
For example, you still can’t properly upload an album from a Facebook iPhone app. Not very convenient.
Obviously the limitations of HTML5 don’t allow Facebook to create a proper HTML5 version with say photo uploads, and Facebook has urged companies and W3C to fix this, and I think thats a great, but getting it there might be harder and take time.
The question is: Is Facebook really weak in mobile? Well, for one thing its surely weak in mobile monetization. I am sure that for every person using Facebook on their mobile phones, Facebook is actually probably losing more money than its gaining.
If I would actually sum where the largest Facebook problem is, it would not only be the Experience, but more importantly in monetization.
Facebook doesn’t really have a way to monetize mobile, and the new Appstore doesnt fix that entirely.
Still, it will have to monetize its 488 million active users on mobile. They have the new newsfeed ads, and lets see how those work out. But as of right now there are no alternative monetization options.
Time will show if Facebook will really grow up to put up the features, experience, and monetize well enough. For now, we can take a look at some statistics and develop some fun innovations for Facebook mobile, because thats really missing!