Facebook’s Real Mobile Problem: Unbundling

The shift of usage away from the web and to mobile is going on in full force.  About half of the US population now has a smartphone and that penetration is rapidly growing. That shift has been widely cited as a problem for Facebook.  But generally the problem is stated in terms of a smaller advertising opportunity on mobile devices as a result of screen size.  That goes back to Facebook’s own amendments to their IPO filings, in which they stated:

"Although the substantial majority of our mobile users also access and engage with Facebook on personal computers where we display advertising, our users could decide to increasingly access our products primarily through mobile devices. We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven."

The real problem, I am beginning to think, is more dramatic: the shift to mobile may make Facebook less relevant altogether.

Why? Mobile devices are doing to web services what web services did to print media: they unbundle.  On my phone another app is just a button push away and there is relatively little that fits on each screen.  So it is just as much effort to go to another part of the Facebook app as there is to go to a different app altogether.  So Facebook for mobile may not be Facebook at all but rather a combination of say Instagram, Kik, Twitter, Foursquare and others.

Facebook seems to realize this to some degree already.  They launched a standalone messenger app and of course more importantly they acquired Instagram. There are also persistent rumors of Facebook working on a phone. Even if they come out with their own phone on all other phones they will have to compete with best of breed point applications.  So the challenge here is what Facebook can do to make its own individual apps be part of a suite that together is more compelling.  That may turn out to be a tough nut to crack.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Posted: 15th August 2012Comments
Tags:  Facebook Mobile

Newer posts

Older posts

blog comments powered by Disqus
  1. hackingfinance reblogged this from continuations and added:
    Anthemis is all about building a natively “unbundled” financial services firm. We’ve used the “financial stack” metaphor...
  2. zunaidkhan reblogged this from continuations
  3. arielseidman reblogged this from continuations
  4. webbyawardsconnect reblogged this from continuations
  5. andrewgreene reblogged this from joshuanguyen and added:
    But does anyone think having 50 apps with tiny feature sets is a better user experience than 3 apps with massive feature...
  6. joshuanguyen reblogged this from continuations and added:
    2012-2013 as large networks...massive feature sets rethink
  7. khuyi reblogged this from continuations
  8. invitidgroup reblogged this from continuations
  9. continuations posted this

Newer posts

Older posts