The new Android app, Facebook Home, is the latest mobile app to send ripples of both excitement and concern through the social media marketing world. For big brands, the question is how to leverage this new development for maximum benefit at minimum risk.
Smartphone and tablet users are deeply attached to their mobile devices. According to recently released data, 79% of smartphone users reach for their mobile within 15 minutes of waking. So what are the first apps they use? Email, their web browser, and… Facebook, of course.
In fact, the average smartphone user checks Facebook 14 times per day, spending more than half an hour per day on Facebook via their mobile – that's without counting the time they spend logged into Facebook via any other devices.Bringing Facebook to Mobile (And Making it Stick)
Facebook is naturally keen to maximise mobile use as more and more of its market shifts from desktop PCs to tablets and phones.
The official Facebook app for mobile presented users with frustratingly limited options and is generally considered less user-friendly than Facebook's world wide web incarnation. Facebook Home is different. It takes over the full home screen of your Android device, displaying a never-ending stream of status updates, shared media, and conversations.
The advertising potential of this app is breathtaking. Localisation plus the Cover Feed's content filtering will combine to realise timely, highly targeted and personalised display advertising on smartphone home screens around the world. Sponsored notifications may also be an option when Facebook releases its Home ad inventory.
More than 500,000 people downloaded the Facebook Home app for Android in the 10 days after its release. Users who install Facebook Home on their own Android phones, however, will find themselves effectively trapped on Facebook.
Because Facebook Home functions as a hybrid of mobile app and operating system, the Home screen poses a new barrier to accessing other mobile apps, which are tucked away in Facebook Home's built-in App Launcher. Unlike the HTC First, other Android smartphones have no simple one-step means to switch Facebook Home off when you don't need it.
The HTC First, launched alongside Facebook Home on April 12th, is the first smartphone to come with Facebook Home pre-installed, though Home can also be switched off if the HTC First's owner wants to revert to the standard Google Android operating system.Exploring Facebook Home for Marketing
There's one very clear consequence of Facebook Home's ever-present Cover Feed: if you're not on Facebook, then anyone using Facebook Home is unlikely to see your brand on their smartphone. The app-turned-OS aspect of Facebook Home disrupts mobile marketing by making the mobile device home screen its own.
This innovative app creates a currently wide-open space for brands to forge deep connections with mobile users as Facebook Home rolls out to a wider range of devices and operating systems. Assuming that Facebook's app developers can create a similar experience on Apple, Windows and other mobile devices, the social network will be more deeply embedded in the mobile user's consciousness and daily activity than ever before.
Here are the essential points brands need to know to make the most of Facebook Home for their marketing campaigns:
- Stay active on Facebook! The Cover Feed scrolls through a selection of recent and popular items, so your brand's message will only get noticed on Facebook Home if it's clear, consistent and frequent.
- Understand the initial user backlash. A few days after its release, Facebook Home has been rated at the Google Play mobile app store by more than 7,500 users, but the average is only 2 out of 5 stars. Expect this rating to rise as the highly critical early adopters give way to mainstream consumers.
- Consider the design differences between Facebook itself and Facebook Home. Your images will be cropped differently, your captions appear across the image, and if you link to an image instead of uploading it then the Cover Feed may not display it the way you expect.
- Following up Facebook's release of facebook.com email addresses for all users, the omnipresent Facebook Home “chat heads” make it entirely possible that Facebook Home will replace email, SMS, instant messaging and even Skype for mobile users by providing a seamless communication experience.
- Facebook Home lets you Like an item with a simple double-tap on the touchscreen. This will result in a fair number of accidental Likes, as Home also interferes with any lock screens the user may have set up, leaving the touchscreen unlocked at all times! Perhaps future updates will resolve this frustrating experience in the light of user comments. Until then, don't be surprised if your brand's Unlike rate increases a little due to Facebook Home users removing accidental Likes.
- Don't wait for the inevitable advertising inventory release. Yes, Facebook will monetize Facebook Home at some point in the future, and the sheer volume of personal data Facebook accesses for targeted advertising is enough to make any marketing team drool. But the best time to start making an impact is now, while other brands are scrambling to get to grips with this new development.
Facebook Home has now been rolled out to countries other than the United States. A more Home-like iteration of the Facebook App was just released for iPhone and iPad users, too.
Smart brands are already preparing their next social media marketing campaigns with Facebook Home in mind. It won't be long before Facebook Home is as common a consideration as Twitter or Pinterest for both brand awareness and customer acquisition campaigns.
If brands want to keep up, they need to understand how Facebook Home affects their marketing strategy and how they can leverage it to achieve their business objectives. Facebook Home is changing the way people experience mobile social media. Only time will tell which brands come out on top in the rush to adapt.
If you'd like TAMBA's help to uncover engagement opportunities for your brand on Facebook Home, call us today on 01543 495 888.