Let’s not kid ourselves. Since Facebook launched and amassed over 800 million users they have been toying with us in the mobile space. Over 350 million people access Facebook on a mobile device every single day and they haven’t really even begun.
The Facebook app for smartphones is the number 1 downloaded app across all devices – ever. And they launched a feature phone experience for the majority of the planet that doesn’t have an iPhone and Android device. Nope, they still haven’t really begun.
I think what they’ve done to date has all been a precursor to what their true business will become and it is all thanks to the mobile revolution. There has never been a more opportune time in probably the history of business for one company to own and dominate a line of business – something that timing and serendipity needed to play heavily into in order to make happen.
2012 is where it starts to get really interesting for Facebook.
Firstly, they have numbers. Sheer, insane, mouth watering, the-envy-of-the-social-world numbers.
Second, they have the engagement. Some stats show that we spend close to an hour per day engaging with Facebook.
Third, they have our information. Most of us share who we are, our age, our city, our college/university/high school, our friends, our favourite television show and artist. You get the point. The data Facebook has on all of us is incredible but compound that with the information it has on all of us in context to our friends – that is unheard of.
Fourth, they have everyone else’s data as well. All those other products tying into the Facebook stream means Facebook is collecting more information about us and using it for their own good. Check in with Foursquare? Facebook knows and pushes ads based on where you are and where you’ve been. This paints an incredible picture of all of us – even when we aren’t at our desktops.
Fifth, they’ve danced around location but haven’t really committed yet. 2011 was the year Facebook tried a number of location services to mixed reactions. My guess is that they were testing the waters for what is to come in 2012. They hired the former Gowalla team to help them with curation and now are looking beyond the check in.
Sixth, they are about to become the largest and most targeted mobile ad network on the planet. Having 350 million people using Facebook from their mobile is a great place to start when talking about a closed mobile ad network. They have our location, our demographics, our likes, dislikes, proclivities layered on top of all our friends equivalents. They have the Groupon information you posted to your Facebook wall, they have the last place you checked in, they have everything to make sure advertisers can target you at the right time, with the right message at the right place. No one has had this type of grasp before Facebook.
Seventh, they will have search. This is Google’s domain right now but curated mobile search is the panacea of context and Facebook will have the advantage in this space for some time. We all rely on our social graph for some part of decision making and when it comes to things we love – food and entertainment for example – Facebook has the potential to augment our decision making process based on our friends preferences without us asking them. All from a mobile, all in real time…pretty powerful and not Google.
There is no doubt that we have just seen the awakening of the Facebook giant in the mobile space. The way I see it, 2012 is theirs to own.