According to a recent report, almost 5 billion of the planet’s over 6 billion inhabitants have now subscribed to mobile phone services. Companies are all rushing to enter this exploding market, and a few days ago at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Facebbok revelaed their plans to build a stripped down, text-only version of the web site to allow mobile users to get a basic taste of the social networking giant.
Facebook’s VP of User Growth, Mobile and International Expansion Chamath Palihapitiya presented a look at this new service, Facebook Zero, and decribed their plans for the coming years. Facebook’s mobiel strategy involve the following:
– Facebook believes 2010 will be a watershed year for mobile
– The service is now actively used by more than 400 million people
– They want to make Facebook even more ubiquitous and reach billions of users
– 100 million users (25% of total number of users) actively uses Facebook’s mobile products at least once a month
– 200 million people have interacted with Facebook on mobile at least once
– Over the next 5 to 10 years, Facebook aims to invest heavily in expanding mobile experiences for their users; they expect a lot more growth in this area
– Facebook now works together with some 200 mobile operators – and they are striving to convince more about the added value of such partnerships
– Mobile users demonstrate twice as much engagement than Web users (2x the pageviews, interactions, consumptions and productions)
– They use the above as an argument to convince operators services like Facebook can help drive more sales for more capable phones and heavier data plans
– Facebook is traditionally strong in English-speaking countries, but that’s not all – for example, every single user in Indonesia apparently uses Facebook’s mobile products
– There are 3 key themes to Facebook’s mobile strategy:
* MOBILE WEBSITE: two versions, one for regular phones and one for touch-screen enabled phones – these have now been translated into 70+ languages, covering about 98% of the world population.
* SMS: interactions through Facebook using shortcodes – so far there are deals with 80 operators in 32 countries
* DEVICES: applications or ‘integrated experiences’, which means Facebook intends to hook its service deeper into the core OS handsets run on
– New developments:
* VODAFONE UK TRIAL: the carrier offered Facebook mobile free of charge for a week, which not only caused an expected usage spike, but also resulted in an increase of 20% of people who kept using and paying for heavier data plans after the trial
* FACEBOOK ZERO: stripped down, text-only version of Facebook’s mobile website – carriers can offer this free of charge for as long as they like, and attempt to transition users to a charged model at a later stage more effectively
– Facebook aims to turn FB Connect into a ‘foundational element’ of the web, whether accessed on mobile phones or not.
– In the future, Facebook Connect should become more of a core integration both on an OEM, app and OS level (naming iPhone, RIM, Windows Mobile and Android as examples)
– Facebook intends to play a more important role in the app developers ecosystem
– The company stressed that their goal is to keep pushing the envelope for users, operators, device manufacturers and developers.
Source: Tech Crunch.