Facebook’s Mobile Money after Apple WWDC
Facebook has taken a significant beating lately in both the stock market and the press – and for legitimate reasons on both sides. First, with 1 Billion members on their platform, Facebook is on the lips and minds of just about everyone, and their recent IPO means that the Average Joe can now get in on the action. It’s common knowledge that bad news sells more than good news, so while we could be talking about Facebook’s fantastic cash raise through their IPO and their exponential reach and influence in global content, it’s better for ratings and media sales to talk about their flaws and challenges.
I tend to believe that the “mobile monetization challenge” is not a surprise at all. It just has to be publicized for regulatory reasons. Zuckerberg is a smart guy and he has built a top-notch management team. While mobile use is increasing, this is no surprise to anyone. The features in the Facebook mobile app are improving and therefore more folks are flocking to mobile as their preferred platform. The recent news about the new Facebook App Center is not incredibly surprising, however I’m skeptical at the success rate. What is keen to note is the integration of your friends into the App Center. When ratings and reviews go beyond the general public and are filtered by your friends, feedback gets very real and very personal. After seeing the deeper integration of Facebook during the Apple WWDC presentation yesterday, I’m even more convinced that Facebook will have a shocking bounce in mobile revenues.
Imagine Facebook’s App Center giving game developers a new, focused venue with in-app upgrades or a Facebook Marketplace app that allowed you to redeem Facebook Credits. To wield a fire-hose of a billion people provides a tremendous opportunity – something that Zuckerberg is keenly aware of in his role. That is really Facebook’s biggest asset and one that should not be taken lightly. While Apple is focusing on making sure all eyes are set on their glass, Facebook wants to make sure that the apps you are using belong to them or have deep ties to their platform. If you could analyze the time spent on your mobile device – how much of your time is spent on Facebook or Facebook-integrated apps? Whatever it is today, you can be sure that number will grow in the future.
Having 1 Billion users in their platform, and a growing number spending more time on mobile devices, should be seen as an opportunity, not a problem. Every monetization option that is introduced yields dramatic returns and I am confident the stock price will prove this in the months ahead. Look past the short-term naysayers, those who live by TV ratings, and those who keep checking their Facebook status to judge their value by the number of Likes and comments. Instead, pay attention to Facebook as they double-down on their investment in mobile. The risk is bigger, but so is the reward.