Last week Facebook announced its newest mobile venture, Facebook Home. Is it a brand-new Facebook phone, long rumoured to be in development? Not really.
Is it an app? Pretty much. Technically, Facebook Home is a series of apps that function as a new operating system for your phone, centered around Facebook.
The intended demographic is, obviously, heavy Facebook users who use the app for messaging, news, status updates, photos, and other fun stuff that’s great at
generally killing any prospect of productivity at work.
The flagship feature of Facebook Home is “chat heads,” which integrates all messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, SMS, WhatsApp, etc.) under one blanket.
“Chat heads” operates as a passive app, meaning that a user can read and respond to messages without disconnecting from media (i.e., Youtube, games, e-book,
etc.) that they may be using at the time of said message.
All fun and games, right? But how does Facebook Home change the landscape for mobile advertising. At $2.19 Billion, Facebook is second in annual online ad
revenue, trailing only Google’s $2.31 Billion (via Mashable). Well at the moment, it doesn’t. Facebook seems to be taking the same advertising approach with
Home as it did when it launched the company – hold back on advertising and maximize the user experience until they’ve hooked their customers.
Facebook, admittedly, will integrate advertising into its strategy (it does have curmudgeony shareholders, after all). However, how it does this will be interesting
to follow. People are notoriously hateful of receiving advertising on their phones (see: spam). If Facebook can pull off an advertising feature that doesn’t turn
customers off, businesses should be ready to jump in. Facebook Home users will likely have a high-trust relationship with the company, an emotion that may
carry over to advertisers. Stay tuned for new developments; your business might just land on the front page of someone’s beloved new operating system.