The mobile framing of Facebook

Now we have had the IPO of Facebook we can expect a mature mobile client at last. That is my theory at least; Facebook have been waiting with the serious mobile client to boost the stocks value after IPO. The current apps are so bad, Facebook should be able to do so much better and should be able to dedicate teams to it, especially because it is so crucial for the success of Facebook.I think there are two important factors of Facebook mobile that will be addressed. A true mobile client, and a advertising model that is successful.

On the first aspect. We see that all old skool web companies are struggling with the mobile world. Google as most important example. They did however upgraded their latest version of + which is a step forward. They should however focus on a discover and search function in the mobile environment, close to their core.

But this post is not on Google. Back to Facebook. I expect they created a dedicated team that rebuild the facebook experience in the mobile context. They bought enough brains for that. And things as app stores are just some smoke curtains of the stuff we could expect. Integration of Glancee like ubiquitous social connection and discovery is more in line of the new mobile strategy.

That connects to the second part of their mobile leapfrogging strategy; solving the business model based on advertising. Putting ads in the app or even in the stream is too lame. And will alienate users. It should be smarter. More relevant. A model of sponsored localized and social relevant content is more likely. Capitalizing on the interest graph as RWW mentioned here. Combined with a new interaction model where notifications are key and predictive routings will lead. I think it could well be that all the profile knowledge Facebook has of the one user combined with the brands will lead to an app that provides you with knowledge on latent demand and tailored to your situational context that will fit one person needs.

Of course is the model a sponsored one. As brand you will be able to connect your offerings to profiles that are not only based on segmentation but also on context. Just like now, the building of more complete data profiles is the core activity of Facebook.
A smart notification system will be the main communication form. Permission disruptive notification; only the information you need, with a bit extra. Combined with the social radar function.

Facebook mobile will try to offer a second screen experience on your real-life activities, from watching shows online to shopping around.
The hardest part will be to create model that is not too disruptive, and even more important to create a model for brands to understand what happens and how they should leverage. Just like the current advertising in a non dialogue way is far from effective, it is in the mobile context very important to do it right.

And as we can expect from Facebook; the first iterations can be wrong and provoking. Being connected to the stock market will make them a bit more cautious. There lies some danger, because Facebook needs the mobile success badly.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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