A recently published report by comScore stated that the number of Facebook users accessing their site via mobile is outpacing those using a browser. So why hasn’t Facebook invested more in developing their mobile platform to rival that of the browser?
In Facebook’s IPO registration, they claimed to have 901 million active monthly users. That’s 90% of the total number of people using social media services according to a recent report published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) which set the number of social media users at just over one billion. The ITU report also stated that an increasing number of users are accessing social media services via mobile.
With 90% of an increasingly mobile user base, a valuation of $100 billion and seven mobile-centric acquisitions in less than a year, Facebook should have its sights set on making more of the platform’s sharing features mobile friendly and monetizing mobile users.
On the current mobile platform, a user cannot easily share content posted by other users. The share button simply doesn’t exist on posts like it does in the browser version of Facebook.
But isn’t sharing what social media is all about? The idea that information can proliferate through networks with ease and speeds are two things that Facebook’s current mobile platform is missing the mark on.
As a Facebook page administrator, this is particularly frustrating. Not only are page administrators’ abilities limited in the same way as a regular user, but it’s impossible to post pictures directly from a mobile device. For iPhone users there is a workaround with Instagram which allows for image to be posted directly to company pages, but this leaves out the users of the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Android.
When Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion, it was clear the company wanted to own a greater piece of the image sharing space and the high value they placed on that. For a Facebook page administrator who regularly reads reports that the level of engagement is double (or even greater) for posts with photos than with those with just links, it’s a missed opportunity to not be able to make image posts on the go via mobile.
Another thing which is still notably missing from Facebook’s mobile platform is ads. Since page administrators looking to make real time updates with photos need to use the browser, it’s almost like Facebook is driving those who are more likely to purchase ads to the desktop platform. This would mean page managers will see lots of ads, meanwhile a good chunk of ad-targeted users are consuming content on a platform that those ads don’t reach.
Monetizing the increasing number of Facebook mobile users is an unresolved issue that Techvibes writer Knowlton Thomas wrote about in February. Combined with the IPO, it could also be the reason that in the past week articles questioning the value of Facebook ads have been arising. The Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors (GM), the third-biggest advertiser across all media in the U.S., plans to stop placing ads with Facebook because they don’t see the value in sales. Is this because half of Facebook’s users aren’t even seeing their ads?
Now that Facebook is a legit business worth billions and has a greater number of investors to answer to, some of its new found investment dollars should be allocated into improving its mobile platform to make it easier to share content and to improve reach of ads to justify the purchase of them. Are these improvements in the works? Only time will tell.